NICED becomes 2nd centre in city to start genome sequencing

Kolkata: After the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kalyani, the ICMR- National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) in Kolkata emerges as the second center in the state to conduct genome sequencing.

The Union Health Ministry has given clearance to the NICED in this regard. The development comes on a day when the state health department revealed that around 77.2 per cent of the total Covid infected patients who have undergone tests recently have been found Omicron positive. Health department received a genome sequencing report of 1499 samples which were conducted till January 2.

The reports said that around 77.2 per cent of the total Covid infected patients are Omicron positive and the rest were Delta variants.

With the addition of another genome sequencing center in the state, it is expected that the number of genome sequencing will go up. Genome sequencing is performed to detect the Covid variant. The NICED had earlier appealed to the Center expressing its willingness to perform genome sequencing. According to sources, NICED will soon get apparatus and equipment from the Centre to perform genome sequencing.

The Bengal government has also plans to conduct genome sequencing at the School of Tropical Medicine (STM). STM is one of the front runners to get genome sequencing. As per the primary plan, the state health department was keen on setting up a genome sequencing center at any of the state owned hospitals. The National Institute of Biomedical Genomics conducts genome sequencing.

"There is a requirement of centers which can perform genome sequencing as the coronavirus has been mutating fast. Genome sequencing can confirm the variant of the virus," a senior health official said.

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