Kejriwal inaugurates Delhi's 2nd coronavirus genome-sequencing laboratory at ILBS

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated another genome-sequencing laboratory at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) here on Thursday and said it will help detect new variants of coronavirus and ascertain their severity.

'Keeping in view the need of the future, a second genome-sequencing laboratory was inaugurated at ILBS today. These labs will help us identify new virus strains and ascertain their severity. People of Delhi will benefit a lot from this technology in the times of coronavirus,' the CM tweeted in Hindi.

A statement quoting Kejriwal said setting up whole genome sequencing facility at ILBS will help Delhi perform continuous virological surveillance for COVID-19 virus and track the development of any new viral variant in the future.

'We are proud that ILBS has the requisite manpower to handle these extremely advanced machines. I am very happy that they are ready to take on any load of viral sequencing, and Delhi would be able to even help the neighbouring states,' it said.

The facility will help in generating state-of-the-art whole genome sequence data of SARS CoV2 virus for identification and screening of new strains and variants with clinical significance circulating in and around Delhi NCR region, it said.

'This facility can sequence nearly all 30,000 molecules of the Corona virus, in fact, the whole length of the virus,' the statement said, adding 'by doing this, we can find out any mutations in any part of the virus, not merely the spike protein area. The facility at ILBS is equipped with latest machines called NextSeq and MiSeq which can sequence whole virus to the tune of 400 sequences per week, it said. The Delhi government has approved a new machine for ILBS, the NovaSeq, which will allow to sequence up to 3,000 viral sequences every week, it said.

These facilities will also help in classification of new strains or variants of the coronavirus based on the genomic data, it added. Kejriwal had on Wednesday launched the first genome-sequencing laboratory in the national capital at the LNJP Hospital.

The genome-sequencing laboratory at the state-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital will be able to sequence five to seven samples a day, with a turnaround time of about four to five days, a statement had said. Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Director at ILBS said the facility is equipped with the relevant infrastructure and skills, having already been conducting whole genome sequencing for other viruses and can immediately start the SARS CoV2 sequencing program under the Delhi government.

He informed that ILBS has one of the most modern instruments, accessories, processing laboratories and quality control practices in place for starting an endeavour of this magnitude. Dr Sarin said ILBS is also part of the national network INSACOG, and maintains national standards. PTI GVS TDS TDS

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