NEW DELHI: For quicker detection of new variants of coronavirus and ascertain their severity, the city on Thursday added another genome sequencing laboratory at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS).
“Keeping in view the need of the future, a second genomesequencing 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,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi after inaugurating the facility.
The laboratory will help generate 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.
“This facility can sequence nearly 30,000 molecules of the coronavirus, in fact, the whole length of the virus,” the statement said, adding that “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 viruses to the tune of 400 sequences per week.” The Delhi government has approved a new machine for ILBS, the NovaSeq, which will allow it to sequence up to 3,000 viral sequences every week.
Dr SK Sarin, director of ILBS, said the facility is equipped with relevant infrastructure and skills, and has already been conducting whole genome sequencing for other viruses and can immediately start the SARS CoV2 sequencing programme.