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Is coronavirus mutating in India? If yes, how? CSIR starts genetic sequencing to find out

Over the next couple of weeks, once more Covid-19 samples are available, two CSIR institutes will sequence over 100 samples from different locations.

New Delhi: Two institutes functioning under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have started conducting genetic sequencing of virus isolates from coronavirus patients’ samples. The aim is to have a better understanding of coronavirus mutations in India.

Rakesh K. Mishra, director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), told ThePrint the institute is working with the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) to conduct genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease). The CCMB comes under the CSIR.

“It will take a few days before we can start drawing any conclusion from the data,” Mishra said. He added the availability of the virus samples is important. 

“To begin with, we are getting isolates from Hyderabad, but we are writing to NIV (National Institute of Virology in Pune) and a few other places to get isolates from different places,” Mishra said.

Analysing 50 samples takes five to six days. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, once more samples become available, the institutes will sequence over 100 samples from different locations.

Genetic sequencing is important as it helps in finding drugs and vaccines, besides figuring out if there has been a mutation of the virus and how it will affect different populations. It is also essential to finding ways to deal with the spread of the virus.

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