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Genome Sequencing Is Important To Track, Identify Variants And Control COVID-19 Pandemic: Epidemiologist Aditi Hazra

According to Dr Aditi Hazra, Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, genome sequencing by countries help in keeping up with new variants

Genome Sequencing Is Important To Track, Identify Variants And Control COVID-19 Pandemic: Epidemiologist Aditi Hazra

New Delhi: At the Saluting The Covid Heroes Townhall with Amitabh Bachchan, Dr Aditi Hazra, Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School explained the importance of genome sequencing in identifying and tracking new variants of the virus and controlling the pandemic. According to Dr Hazra, genome sequencing or surveillance also helps in understanding the behaviour of the variant and the way it affects different groups of people. Genome sequencing has helped in learning about the spread and caseload of coronavirus during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is Genome Sequencing And How Can It Help Combat COVID-19 Pandemic

What Is Genome Sequencing?

Dr Hazra said that genome sequencing is the technique of studying the genetic blueprint of a microorganism, in this case, SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is a tool for understanding how the coronavirus is evolving as it mutates and spreads. She said,

Genome sequencing allows us to look at all the 30,000 pairs of errors that make up the virus’ sequence. As the virus spreads, it can mutate. And what genome sequencing is that it tells us a story about the virus. The virus makes errors when it copies itself which is called mutation and these errors can make it more contagious so we need to know where is it more contagious. Most mutations are not harmful but some variant strains arrive and these variants can have a mutation in a critical region of the spike protein of the virus that can make it more transmissible, that can make it evade treatment and impact vaccines.

Why Genome Sequencing Is Important In The Fight Against COVID-19?

Genome sequencing helps in building scientific responses to the pandemic, including the timely development of diagnostic tests, surveillance strategies, vaccines and other new tools for managing the outbreak, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Sequencing the genome help us track the virus, to see where is it spreading, how to identify new variants and then we can control those specific areas and we can also have clinical sampling to allow us to know about how it’s affecting a certain age group, people with certain comorbidity or certain symptoms are more severe so that’s the importance of genome sequencing to better track, identify and control the variant, said Dr Hazra.

Also Read: Genome Sequencing Of Coronavirus In Sewage Can Help Detect Local Variants: Study

She further said that genome sequencing needs to be increased manifold in the country and globally. She highlighted that more sequencing is happening in the cities while the rural areas are lagging. She said,

If the rural part of the country is lagging, then we can implement and bring resources to that region and what we know is that majority of the sequencing has been done in the city. My goal is to help scale rural surveillance and to have more representative sampling throughout the country. It’s just by getting a diagnostic test then that sample is sent for sequencing. So, the diagnostic test tells you if the virus is there. The sequencing tells you the entire storybook of the virus and one page is mutated or ripped out so that is what we are trying to fix. Let’s say we are running a race, you want to know which one is running faster so that’s what I would say, we are trying to catch the one that is running the fastest.

Vaccines Are The Best Defense Against Covid Variants: Dr Aditi Hazra

Underlining the importance of vaccination against COVID-19 and urging people to take the shot available to them, Dr Hazra said,

Coronavirus will keep mutating but what we know for sure is that the vaccines are effective. Vaccine against Covid is a shot of hope. We need the vaccines and with it, variants can be defeated.

Watch: Genome Sequencing Is Important To Better Track, Identify And Control COVID-19 Variants: Aditi Hazra

 NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,70,55,138Cases
18,97,86,461Active
3,25,98,424Recovered
46,70,253Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,70,55,138 and 46,70,253 have died; 18,97,86,461 are active cases and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 5:36 am.

India

3,33,81,728 34,403Cases
3,39,0563,867Active
3,25,98,424 37,950Recovered
4,44,248 320Deaths
In India, there are 3,33,81,728 confirmed cases including 4,44,248 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,39,056 and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,11,525 3,595

52,893 310

63,20,310 3,240

1,38,322 45

Kerala

44,46,228 22,182

1,86,754 4,559

42,36,309 26,563

23,165 178

Karnataka

29,65,191 1,108

16,202 282

29,11,434 808

37,555 18

Tamil Nadu

26,40,361 1,693

16,756 120

25,88,334 1,548

35,271 25

Andhra Pradesh

20,34,786 1,367

14,708 105

20,06,034 1,248

14,044 14

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,628 23

193 11

16,86,549 11

22,886 1

West Bengal

15,59,567 707

8,025 25

15,32,922 725

18,620 7

Delhi

14,38,373 28

409 5

14,12,880 22

25,084 1

Odisha

10,18,298 580

5,335 105

10,04,845 681

8,118 4

Chhattisgarh

10,04,988 31

352 2

9,91,077 29

13,559

Rajasthan

9,54,230 4

103 1

9,45,173 5

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,677 22

149 0

8,15,446 22

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,374 7

119 5

7,81,738 12

10,517

Haryana

7,70,697 9

327 8

7,60,562 17

9,808

Bihar

7,25,864 12

72 6

7,16,134 6

9,658

Telangana

6,62,785 259

5,282 43

6,53,603 301

3,900 1

Punjab

6,01,180 30

314 11

5,84,399 38

16,467 3

Assam

5,97,074 468

5,381 15

5,85,914 479

5,779 4

Jharkhand

3,48,102 6

102 8

3,42,867 14

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,330 20

284 12

3,35,657 32

7,389

Jammu And Kashmir

3,27,466 170

1,421 72

3,21,630 98

4,415

Himachal Pradesh

2,16,430 127

1,568 82

2,11,215 206

3,647 3

Goa

1,75,183 95

699 1

1,71,195 96

3,289

Puducherry

1,25,170 107

963 63

1,22,380 42

1,827 2

Manipur

1,17,913 216

2,614 7

1,13,478 219

1,821 4

Tripura

83,787 31

427 26

82,553 56

807 1

Meghalaya

78,958 229

1,804 140

75,784 86

1,370 3

Mizoram

76,591 1,121

13,888 85

62,449 1,202

254 4

Chandigarh

65,168 4

31 2

64,319 2

818

Arunachal Pradesh

53,990 47

536 9

53,183 56

271

Sikkim

30,802 64

775 28

29,648 36

379

Nagaland

30,763 32

505 14

29,610 44

648 2

Ladakh

20,631 6

41 1

20,383 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

5 0

10,661

4

Lakshadweep

10,353

4 0

10,298

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,595 3

15 2

7,451 1

129

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