Maharashtra: State to focus on whole genome sequencing

The State Health Department has directed all the district health officers to focus on whole genome sequencing for Covid-19 across Maharashtra.

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Thursday, December 22, 2022, 04:05 AM IST
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Unsplash/@3dparadise

Mumbai: The State Health Department has directed all the district health officers to focus on whole genome sequencing for Covid-19 across Maharashtra. This came a day after the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asked all states and Union Territories (UTs) to gear up for whole genome sequencing of positive cases to track new variants.

Maharashtra Health Secretary Sanjay Khandare said the State Government will decide on Covid norms based on results of positive samples that will be sent to laboratories in Mumbai and Pune.

Mr Khandare added that Covid vaccination drives in the state are continuing, but now it will become a priority. “Our health infrastructure is in place and we will activate all Covid-related medical setups, if required,” he said, adding that there are no plans for mass testing as of now.

He said, “Currently, Covid is in the endemic stage in the state as there are less than 50 cases, which means we have restricted the pandemic. But citizens, especially senior citizens with comorbidities, need to take extra care and follow norms in crowded places to avoid contracting infection.”
Dr Umang Agrawal, Infectious Diseases Consultant at PD Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, said, “This is an excellent initiative by the Government of India. I strongly encourage sending all positive samples for genomic sequencing to make sure that we identify the new variants.”

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