Kejriwal inaugurates Delhi’s second genome sequencing lab at ILBS, Vasant Kunj
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday inaugurated the Delhi government’s second laboratory to sequence genomes of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, which causes Covid-19, at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, a day after he flagged off the first such facility at the Lok Nayak hospital.
The laboratory at ILBS will be able to sequence over 300 samples a week and provide results in five to seven days, the government said in a press statement.
“Yesterday [Wednesday], we launched a similar laboratory in Lok Nayak hospital, but this is going to be even more advanced,” Kejriwal said at the inauguration event.
He further said, “Till now, we were dependent on NCDC [National Centre for Disease Control] and other central government facilities to sequence genomes. But now, we are independent and will be able to identify variants on time, take the right actions and strategise for any of the next waves (of Covid-19), if they break out.”
“The facility will help sequence data of the Sars-CoV-2 virus to identify and screen new strains and variants with clinical significance, circulating in and around Delhi NCR [National Capital Region]. This facility can sequence nearly all 30,000 molecules of the coronavirus, in fact, the whole length of the virus. By doing this we can find out any mutations in any part of the virus, not merely the spike protein area.”
Dr SK Sarin, ILBS director, said, “After the sequencing, we will be able to identify through the results whether the variant is new or an existing one. It’s not that every variant is extremely dangerous, but we need to be well informed about the new cases logged in Delhi and their variants.”
“We already have more than 100,000 samples from previous months and upon the requests of the health minister or the chief minister, we can sequence a portion of them as well. We can sequence more than 300 samples in a week and their results can be made available within five to seven days,” said Sarin.