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New Delhi: Dr Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science & Technology, Health & Family Welfare and Earth Sciences announced the successful completion of PAN-India 1000 Genome sequencing of SARS- CoV-2, collaborating with national laboratories and clinical organizations. The meeting was held with DBT and reviewed the COVID-19 activities with AIs and BIRAC. He complimented the efforts of DBT in “the relentless war for mitigation of this Pandemic”. The largest network of five dedicated COVID-19 Biorepositories established by Department of Biotechnology in record time was launched and dedicated to the nation. 5 of them are at THSTI Faridabad, ILS Bhubaneshwar, ILBS New Delhi, NCCS Pune and InStem Bangalore.

He stated that the data analysis, which is ongoing, may bring out some interesting conclusions to help in our fight against COVID-19. The information in the database will improve our understanding of how the virus is spreading, ultimately helping to interrupt the transmission chains, prevent new cases of infection, and provide impetus to research on intervention measures. The sequence data will be released in Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data for use by researchers across the Globe. 16 Vaccine Candidates are in different stages of development.

The consortium coordinated by NIBMG-Kalyani and 5 other National clusters is actively participating in sequencing and analysis. It has achieved its initial goal of completing the sequencing of 1000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs by Real-time PCR, which was collected across 10 states covering different zones. The main purpose of these biorepositories is archival of inactivated virus and clinical samples, including naso-oropharyngeal swabs, stool, urine, saliva, serum, plasma, PBMC and Serum.

The designated biorepositories will use the clinical samples for R&D purpose and are authorized to share the samples with academia, industry and commercial entities involved in the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines. 44452 clinical samples have been collected and stored in these five centres.

Dr Renu Swarup Secretary DBT joined by Senior officers of DBT and it’s Autonomous Institutes and Public Sectors BIRAC and BIBCOL virtually presented an update on the DBT–BIRAC COVID 19 Research Consortia under which more than 150 Research Groups have been supported. The consortium has successfully developed 100 per cent self-reliance for producing more than 5 lakh RTPCR diagnostic kits per day providing diagnostic kits, Kit Validation ad Antiviral testing.

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