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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
Highlights
  • Genome sequencing allows us to look at all changes in the virus: Dr Hazra
  • Some mutations can make the virus more transmissible: Dr Hazra
  • With the vaccines, COVID-19 variants can be defeated, said Dr 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

24,24,98,327Cases
20,40,54,102Active
3,35,14,449Recovered
49,29,776Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,24,98,327 and 49,29,776 have died; 20,40,54,102 are active cases and 3,35,14,449 have recovered as on October 22, 2021 at 5:24 am.

India

3,41,43,236 15,786Cases
1,75,7453,086Active
3,35,14,449 18,641Recovered
4,53,042 231Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,43,236 confirmed cases including 4,53,042 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,75,745 and 3,35,14,449 have recovered as on October 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,98,218 1,573

27,899 1,434

64,30,394 2,968

1,39,925 39

Kerala

48,88,523 8,733

82,093 1,240

47,79,228 9,855

27,202 118

Karnataka

29,84,849 365

9,017 86

29,37,848 443

37,984 8

Tamil Nadu

26,91,797 1,164

13,790 268

26,42,039 1,412

35,968 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,62,303 493

5,500 66

20,42,476 552

14,327 7

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,068 10

107 5

16,87,062 14

22,899 1

West Bengal

15,83,646 833

7,535 44

15,57,090 775

19,021 14

Delhi

14,39,488 22

311 1

14,14,087 21

25,090

Odisha

10,37,056 524

4,336 51

10,24,422 573

8,298 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,773 38

206 21

9,91,995 16

13,572 1

Rajasthan

9,54,395 2

36 2

9,45,405 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,353 13

156 20

8,16,110 33

10,087

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,721 12

88 6

7,82,110 6

10,523

Haryana

7,71,125 9

131 2

7,60,945 11

10,049

Bihar

7,26,042 6

30 0

7,16,351 6

9,661

Telangana

6,69,739 183

3,967 1

6,61,829 183

3,943 1

Assam

6,07,811 384

3,762 152

5,98,087 228

5,962 4

Punjab

6,02,135 22

226 6

5,85,358 27

16,551 1

Jharkhand

3,48,526 40

166 24

3,43,225 16

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,787 14

176 0

3,36,213 14

7,398

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,386 87

814 14

3,26,143 73

4,429

Himachal Pradesh

2,22,138 202

1,452 58

2,16,955 140

3,731 4

Goa

1,77,765 59

618 21

1,73,790 35

3,357 3

Puducherry

1,27,564 43

454 7

1,25,258 50

1,852

Manipur

1,23,051 81

1,346 14

1,19,800 94

1,905 1

Mizoram

1,15,944 737

10,034 229

1,05,510 962

400 4

Tripura

84,369 18

105 10

83,448 8

816

Meghalaya

83,210 52

735 26

81,034 76

1,441 2

Chandigarh

65,315 3

26 2

64,469 1

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,065 22

140 2

54,645 20

280

Sikkim

31,819 19

185 10

31,241 9

393

Nagaland

31,670 11

250 5

30,743 15

677 1

Ladakh

20,896 10

43 9

20,645 1

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,678 2

4 2

10,670

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,646

7 0

7,510

129

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