National

Consortium of four cities formed for enhanced Covid genome surveillance

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on June 11, 2021

‘Our aim is to develop strategies and capabilities to identify Variants of Concern’

A consortium of four city clusters – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Pune – has been established to upscale SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance, complementing the national efforts led by Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG).

“The new effort will track the emergence of viral variants correlated to epidemiological dynamics and clinical outcomes. The consortium aims to develop targeted sampling strategies based on granular epidemiological and clinical data. Coupled with intense environmental surveillance and advanced computational techniques, the consortium will also focus on building capabilities for real-time surveillance and epidemiology.”

Partners

It is led by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB), Hyderabad, and currently includes different partners in three other cities: NCBS-TIFR, InStem-DBT, and NIMHANS in Bengaluru; CSIR-IGIB in New Delhi; Pune Knowledge Cluster, IISER-Pune; and CSIR-NCL in Pune.

It will work closely with local governments, hospitals and clinicians. In collaboration with INSACOG, the consortium aims to eventually make this a national effort by expanding to other strategic locations in India. Dr Rakesh Mishra, Advisor, CSIR-CCMB, will lead these efforts, along with other experts.

“Our aim is to develop strategies and capabilities to identify Variants of Concern before they spread widely and cause outbreaks. This will also help correlate with clinical symptoms and disease severity, potentially associated with emerging variants,” said the team in a release issued on Thursday.

“All the partner institutes have been fighting Covid-19 since its very beginning in the country. This much-needed collaboration will bring all their strengths together in a structured fashion,” Vinay Nandicoori, Director, CSIR-CCMB added.

Published on June 10, 2021

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