‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Govt policies and initiatives; Social/Health issue; Science and Technology
- Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to develop “mega labs” to ramp up testing for COVID-19
- The labs will use repurposing large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS).
About Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS)
- They are normally used for sequencing human genomes or DNA sequencing.
- Next-generation sequencing machines or instruments are as mentioned as DNA microarrays, real-time PCR and DNA chips and reagents.
- These machines can substantially detect the presence of the COVID virus even in several instances where the traditional RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests fail.
Do you know?
- Next-generation sequencing, also known as high-throughput sequencing, is the term used to describe a number of different modern sequencing technologies including Illumina (Solexa) sequencing, Roche 454 sequencing, Ion torrent: Proton / PGM sequencing, solid sequencing.
Important Value Additions:
About Genome sequencing:
- Genome sequencing is a process to figure out order of DNA nucleotides or bases in a genome.
- This means the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts, a unique combination of which makes up an organism’s DNA.
- After the genome is sequenced, the data is analysed to understand the genetic information of an entire species.
Difference between Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS) and RTPCR test
- RT-PCR test identifies the SARSCoV2 virus by exploring only specific sections, whereas the genome method can read a bigger chunk of virus genome and thereby provide more certainty that the virus in question is indeed the particular coronavirus of interest.
- NGS test can also trace the evolutionary history of the virus and track mutations more reliably.
- Unlike the RT-PCR that needs primers and probes — a key hurdle in operationalising such tests on a mass scale early on in the pandemic — the NGS only needs custom reagents.
Source: The Hindu