Amid concerns about the spread of Omicron variant of coronavirus, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Tuesday said the government is taking measures to set up more genomic sequencing labs in the state.
During the second wave of COVID, the state government had said six genome sequencing labs were being set up at Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga, Hubballi, Mangaluru and Vijayapura.
”We have taken measures to set up genomic sequencing labs, it requires expert facilities and lab equipment. Instructions have been given to the Health Secretary in this regard,” Bommai said in response to a question on increasing the number of genomic sequencing labs in the state.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, ”We are taking all the required measures to set up more such labs.” Two cases of the Omicron infections were detected in the state last week, one is a South African national who has left the country after testing negative, while the other is a local person, a Doctor with no travel history.
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Further, noting that there are labs in every district to do COVID tests, the Chief Minister said in the case of genomic sequencing, it requires expert facility, and all cases are not set for genomic sequencing, now because of Omicron variant, whenever there is suspicion, we are sending samples for such a test.” For higher reference samples are also being sent to National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), he said, adding there are no issues as the genomic sequencing reports are coming much quicker than earlier.
As of now, labs at NCBS and NIMHANS are the only two laboratories in Karnataka that have been approved by Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) to conduct genomic sequencing.