The sudden change in the landscape of variants of concern (VOC) can be understood from the fact that the Delta variant was found in only 2% of the total sequenced samples in March in Andhra Pradesh. The share increased to 40% in April and 91% in May. Even though the first case of Delta variant was reported back in October 2020 in India, it was detected only in March in AP in genome sequencing.
The Union ministry of health and family welfare established the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a grouping of 10 national laboratories, in December 2020.
INSACOG has since been carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating Covid-19 viruses, and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants. For AP, Telangana and Goa, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and DBT-Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad have been mapped as Hub Labs. The estimated sequencing capacity of these two institutions is 6,200 samples a month.
As per the official data, Andhra Pradesh has so far reported two cases of Delta Plus variant (B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1).
As per the updated guidelines of the INSACOG on genomic surveillance for SARS-CoV-2, each state is to designate a nodal officer, who will be the focal point for coordination of whole genome sequencing. The nodal officer is also responsible for identification of an adequate number of sentinel sites. At least 15 samples per fortnight from each of these sentinel sites should flow towards designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories.
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