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Eye on Covid-19 variants, genome study to be targeted in Mumbai

Updated on: 13 August,2021 07:49 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Somita Pal |

BMC creates categories to test samples of COVID-19 patients, will prioritise those of critical, prolonged and fatal cases

Eye on Covid-19 variants, genome study to be targeted in Mumbai

BMC staff tell visitors at Marine Drive to wear masks properly. Pic/Bipin Kokate

In order to understand if a variant has a role behind critical, prolonged and fatal COVID-19, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to collect samples of only severe COVID-19 patients for genome sequencing. 

The corporation has its own genome sequencing machine which was inaugurated on August 4 at Kasturba Hospital. 

BMC is now preparing a list of COVID-19 patients who are critical and undergoing treatment at civic-run hospitals, of patients who had prolonged COVID, and of patients who died of the disease.

An ST bus conductor without a mask at Sion. Pic/Pradeep DhivarAn ST bus conductor without a mask at Sion. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, said, “We are collating data of patients who are critical, had prolonged COVID-19 and or have died. Their samples need to be sent for genome sequencing. For now, less than 10 per cent of COVID-19 patients admitted to our COVID hospitals are critical. We will take the samples from moderately or mildly ill patients for genome sequencing later.”

He said the genome sequencing laboratory has given the corporation an edge in the fight against COVID-19. The Kasturba lab can run 384 samples in one round and each sequencing test will cost around Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000.

Genome sequencing is considered crucial in understanding the changes in the structure of the virus over time. It helps to study and ascertain the types of variants infecting the people in the state. “It will help analyse a large number of samples in a short period and also identify mutants, something that will be especially useful in hotspot areas,” said Kakani.

A report released by the state government on Wednesday evening said that the state has 65 cases infected by the Delta plus variant, of which 11 are in Mumbai. 
Kakani added that samples from international passengers, hotspots, places with high transmission rates will also be collected.

No. of Delta plus cases in city as per a govt report on Wednesday

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