The BMC has decided to collect samples from Covid patients admitted to private hospitals for a prolonged time to be a part of the genome sequencing. Earlier, the civic body collected samples from international passengers, Covid-19 hotspots, places with high transmission rates, among others. Civic officials said many patients are undergoing treatment for a longer period due to which they decided to make them a part of genome sequencing.
Additional municipal corporation Suresh Kakani said genome sequencing is the only way through which they can identify the various strains of the virus, following which they decided to collect samples from Covid patients admitted to private hospitals.
“We have included patients who have had long hospitalisation stints in the second round. We have collected more than 350 samples, the results of which are expected to come in the next two to three days. We have also directed all medical officers to collect samples from serious patients, those who have prolonged symptoms and international travellers in their respective wards,” he said.
Genome sequencing is an exercise to study the changes in the structure of the virus over a period of time. A combination of changes in the ribonucleic acid of the virus can give birth to a new variant. The machine can process 384 samples at one go. Last time, the BMC had collected samples from critical patients admitted to public hospitals. They also included samples from those who had international travel history.
Civic officials said though the Delta Plus variant is still not a ‘variant of concern’, it has been in Maharashtra since April. Recently, 128 samples were detected with the Delta variant after the BMC conducted genome sequencing on 194 samples collected from the city’s hotspots. Civic officials have said that increasing testing and genome sequencing will help the state soldier against the virus.
Critical care specialist at Fortis Hospital and member of the state Covid-19 Task Force Dr Rahul Pandit said genome sequencing and aggressive vaccination is what the need of the hour is. Moreover, every new variant of interest can become a variant of concern so they must be contained and nipped in the bud.
“For instance, if a patient tests negative but the symptoms indicate the presence of the virus, then the sequencing can help us understand the nucleotides in the organic,” he added. Moreover, genome sequencing can provide a better diagnosis among patients showing unusual clinical presentations.
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