Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG)
Part of: Prelims and GS II – Health
Context According to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), the frequency of the new AY.4.2 variant of COVID-19 is less than 0.1% of all Variants of Interest (VOI)/ Variants of Concern (VOC), and is too low to be of concern at this time.
- The INSACOG noted that Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY.x) continues to be the main VOC in India and no new variant VOI or VOC have been noted in India.
- The Delta variant, which was first found in India in October 2020, led to the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
What is AY4.2?
- AY.4.2 is a descendant of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first identified in India in October 2020.
- The AY.4.2 sub-lineage contains 2 mutations in its spike protein — A222V and Y145H.
- It is dubbed “Delta Plus” and now named VUI-21OCT-01 by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)).
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 a 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.)