Srinagar, Dec 28:Amid the rise in Covid-19 cases globally, Jammu and Kashmir’s first genome-sequencing lab will be commissioned within two days at the microbiology department of Government Medical College Srinagar as the Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Department is working hard in this direction, officials said.
Administrative Secretary, H&ME Department, Bhupinder Kumar, said the health department would establish two high-end genome-sequencing labs one each in Srinagar and Jammu for testing purpose.
“We have received machines and other equipment for both the labs. The work on genome-sequencing lab at GMC Srinagar has been started and it would be commissioned within two days as its level one has been completed,” he said.
Once the Srinagar lab is functional then the department will try to make this lab a part of the larger network of 50 labs in India which are authorised to conduct genome-sequencing.
Kumar also said that the genome-sequencing lab at GMC Jammu will be commissioned within a week time. The move comes as India records cases of Omicron BF.7 variant that’s driving the surge in China.
“As per the guidelines of the Government of India, we will be doing genome sequencing of each positive case in order to know the exact variant of the Covid-19,” he said.
The setting up of two genome-sequencing lab was proposed in August 2021.
In view of the cases of Omicron BF.7 variant, the hospitals across Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday held a massive mock drill exercise to review and check the preparedness.
Kumar said the mock was successful and where ever there is any lacuna that would be improved in the meantime. “We are prepared and keeping watch on the situation that is evolving. We are cautious and are observing the situation very closely,” he said.
“All the teams have been activated. The Covid-19 vaccine coverage is good in J&K. Our surveillance is ready and we have given necessary instructions,” he said.
The Administrative Secretary said they have discussed the strategies to tackle the situation and emphasized the need of ensuring a strict vigil over the situation besides keeping ready the infrastructure and requisite supplies to tackle with any such cases.
The genome-sequencing is the process of determining the entirety of the DNA sequence of an organism's genome at a single time. The labs are aimed at early identification of new coronavirus variants and the labs would be a key component in the fight against Covid-19.