COVID-19: CSIR-IMTECH begins whole genome sequencing of SARS-Cov-2

CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) will carry out genome sequencing of coronavirus SARS-Cov-2 to understand its evolution and mutation pattern

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Chandigarh: Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) affiliated Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) has initiated the whole-genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2. Whole-genome sequencing is the method used to determine the complete DNA sequence of a specific organism’s genome. CSIR-IMTECH along with other sister CSIR laboratories, with specialization in genomics, medicine and cell biology, has embarked upon this ambitious project to carry out large-scale genome sequencing of the various SARS-Cov-2 strains across the country.

With its expertise in microbial and genomic research, CSIR-IMTECH will perform sequencing of the SARS-Cov-2 RNA genome isolated from clinical samples. Viruses have higher mutation rate than other microbes and their genetic material keeps on changing quickly as they replicate rapidly. The complete genome sequence information will enable researchers to gain insights about the origins of the virus, the different types of strains circulating in India and how has it spread across the length and breadth of our country. The genomic resource obtained from this sequencing will also allow identification of new targets for diagnosis and drugs for COVID 19.

Dr Sanjeev Khosla, Director, CSIR-IMTECH said, “CSIR-IMTECH has been at the forefront in augmenting efforts of the Government to fight COVID 19. We have already started clinical testing of samples and now by embarking on this mission to sequence viral strains, we will be better equipped to understand the nature of this virus which has caused a global pandemic.” CSIR-IMTECH will be using its experience in portable, real-time and direct genome sequencing to study the chemical modification in SARS-Cov-2 strains from India.

CSIR-IMTECH is a national center for excellence in microbial sciences and was established in 1984.