To Assess Omicron Spread in India, INSACOG to Increase its Random Sample Collection; Focus on Areas With Cases


The INSACOG, a national consortium of government institutions involved in genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus, will now lift more samples from the random population for confirming the extent of presence of ‘heavily mutated’ omicron among the Indian population, News18 has learnt.

In a meeting on Friday, the members of the consortium reviewed the sequencing strategy after India reported the first two cases of omicron in Karnataka on Thursday.

“No specific decision was taken in the meeting. It was decided that the number of random samples tested for genome sequencing should go up. Also, the collection should be focussed in and around areas where omicron positive cases have already been reported,” said an official who is a member of the committee.

Specific cluster outbreaks across the country, the source said, are being investigated and the consortium has started receiving samples for the testing. “This includes two reported outbreaks in Karnataka.”

The official informed that the consortium has been waiting for the results of “virus isolation” – a very specific method for learning the characteristics of the virus. “More specific decisions will be taken once the panel gets the report on isolation.”

Till now, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) being coordinated by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), as on 25th November 2021 has sequenced 1,02,880 SARS-CoV-2 genomes.

A total of 17 Covid-19 bio-repositories have been notified by the central government. These are set up at laboratories of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) across India.

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