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INSACOG to track SARS-CoV-2 in sewage

  • IASbaba
  • October 20, 2021
  • 0
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INSACOG to track SARS-CoV-2 in sewage

Part of: Prelims and GS-II – Health

Context The decline in daily new infections across India has prompted INSACOG, the consortium of labs focused on sequencing coronavirus variants, to “prioritise” new surveillance approaches.

Key takeaways 

  • INSACOG will prioritise developing and expanding a SARS-CoV-2 sewage surveillance program.
  • The CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, which is also part of the INSACOG network, has since early 2020 been collecting sewage from large drains in cities to check for the presence of the virus.

Reason for sewage surveillance 

  • Because a large fraction of those afflicted by the virus are asymptomatic but are carriers of infection, their body fluids and stool often contain traces of the virus. 
  • Finding large proportions of it in public drains can often be a precursor to a fresh outbreak, with a rise in symptomatic infections.

What is Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG)?

  • Coordinated by: Department of Biotechnology (DBT) along with MoH&FW, ICMR, and CSIR
  • The consortium will ascertain the status of new variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the country. 
  • INSACOG will have a high level Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee. 
  • It will have a Scientific Advisory Group for scientific and technical guidance.
  • Aim: To monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 on a regular basis through a multi-laboratory network.
  • This vital research consortium will also assist in developing potential vaccines in the future. 
  • The consortium will also establish a sentinel surveillance for early detection of genomic variants with public health implication, and determine the genomic variants in the unusual events/trends (super-spreader events, high mortality/morbidity trend areas etc.).

Do you know?

  • Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY.x) continues to be the main VOC (Variant of Concern) in India. No new VOI (Variant of Interest) or VOC are noted in India.

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