Over two lakh COVID-19 genomes have been sequenced by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) in coordination with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) as on 23rd March, the government informed the Parliament on Wednesday.
“The INSACOG being coordinated by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), as on 23rd March 2022 has sequenced 2,01,373 SARS-CoV-2 genomes,” said Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, said that DBT, based on extensive scientific deliberations, initiated an integrated response to overcome the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, in alignment with R&D Blueprint of the World Health Organization (WHO).
INSACOG was started jointly by Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICRM) with the primary aim to expand whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus across the nation amid the outbreak of the pandemic.
Under National Biopharma Mission and Mission COVID Suraksha, the Department has enabled support for pre-clinical development of COVID-19 vaccine candidates and scale-up of manufacturing of COVID-19 diagnostic kits, facilities for animal challenge studies, facilities for immunogenicity assays, clinical trial sites etc.
“A total of 17 COVID-19 Bio-repositories have been notified by the Government of India. These are set up at laboratories of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR),” said the minister.
The ICMR recently confirmed that as per the genomic sequencing results, omicron is the dominant strain circulating in the country.
Meanwhile, India’s cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage breached 184 crore today. COVID-19 vaccination for the age group 12-14 years was started on 16 March, 2022. So far, more than 1.50 Cr (1,50,55,291) adolescents have been administered with the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the health ministry stated.
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