RT-PCR tests ‘do not miss any mutant strains’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 16, 2021

Genome sequencing data shared by Indian Genomic Consortium multiple times with States from March 26 onwards

The RT-PCR tests used in India do not miss the UK, Brazil, South Africa or the Double Mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus as they target more than two genes, the Health Ministry said on Friday. Sensitivity and specificity of the RT-PCR tests remain the same as earlier, it added.

The detection of these mutations does not change the management strategy, which is to test, track, trace and treat. The use of masks remains the most important shield to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the Ministry added.

The Covid-19 virus has been mutating and various strains have been found in many countries as well as in India. These include the UK (17 mutations), Brazil (17), and South Africa (12) strains. These variants have higher transmissibility. The UK variant has been found extensively in Britain, all across Europe and has spread to Asia and America.

The Double Mutant (2 mutations) variant has been found in several countries including Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, and the US. Higher transmissibility of this variant has not been established as yet.

The Health Ministry also said that the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) — a network of ten laboratories established in December 2020 for continuously monitoring the genomic changes of the Covid-19 virus in India — has so far Genome Sequenced more than 13,000 samples.

The Indian Genomic Consortium for Covid-19 has shared the Genome Sequencing data with States multiple times since March 26. The National Centre for Diseases Control has also communicated State-specific results from time-to-time. For example, Himachal Pradesh results were communicated on April 8; Punjab’son March 26; Rajasthan’s on April 10, and Maharashtra results on nine occasions from March 12 to April 16, 2021.

Published on April 16, 2021

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