Genome sequencing lab being set up in Pondicherry to detect Omicron and other Covid variants – The New Indian Express

Express news service

PODUCHERRY: Amid an increase in the number of cases of Omicron variants in the country, the government of Pondicherry is establishing a genome sequencing laboratory at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute for the early detection of Omicron and other variants of Covid as well as the ramp-up of Infrastructure.

Although only two cases of Omicron were reported in Pondicherry, they were not detected until two weeks after infection. This is because confirmatory testing for Omicron and other variants is to be performed by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG), in Bengaluru. As early detection is important in controlling the spread, the government of Pondicherry has started the process of establishing the lab in IGMCRI’s existing virology lab, said health director Dr G Sriramulu. The new Indian express.

After the Center ordered all states to establish a genome sequencing laboratory for the detection of the variant in people infected with Covid, Chief Minister N Rangasamy, who is also Minister of Health, gave his approval for its creation, he said. Tenders have been placed on the government’s electronic marketplace portal for the purchase of equipment to establish the facility, Dr Sriramulu said. Establishing the facility will involve an expense of around 1 to 2 crore, the director said. Covid detection is also improved with more RAT tests, in addition to RT-PCR tests.

In the meantime, the health department is strengthening mass quarantine centers and healthcare infrastructure and staff as part of its preparedness for an increase in Omicron cases in UT.

Chief Minister N Rangasamy on Monday visited the Old Port, the integrated fish market on ECR and the Lawspet community hall to explore the establishment of quarantine centers. In the area of ​​the old port where there are three large rooms recently built by the tourism ministry, around 400 patients can be admitted, said Dr Sriramulu, who accompanied the chief minister on the visits. In addition, at the integrated fish market the room can accommodate around 100 to 150 patients and in the Lawspet community room another 50 to 60 patients can be admitted, the director said.

The use of the large rooms of the former Anglo-French textile factories of Mudaliarpet, capable of accommodating around 300 patients, is also being studied. The lieutenant governor, Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, along with officials visited the place last week.

All of these places are prepared to quarantine those infected, he said. The Center has called on all state governments to prepare for a third wave following the growing number of cases of Omicron variants, Dr Sriramulu said.

Orders have already been placed for the acquisition of around 500 additional beds. These are steel folding beds that can be kept as spare beds and used when needed, he said. The government hires contract health workers every three to four months for all vacancies and, if necessary, more contract workers will be hired, he said. There are adequate oxygen and ventilation facilities in all hospitals. In addition to oxygen production plants in public and private hospitals, there are enough oxygen concentrators, the director said.

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