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SpiceHealth, CSIR-IGIB set up genome testing lab at Delhi's IGI Airport

SpiceHealth said the sequencing at the airport would significantly reduce the time to identify a new variant.

January 14, 2021 / 04:06 PM IST
SpiceHealth has tied up with the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) for the new lab.

SpiceHealth has tied up with the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) for the new lab.

 
 
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SpiceHealth, the healthcare company founded by SpiceJet founder Ajay Singh and daughter Avani Singh, has  tied up with the CSIR to set up a lab at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport for genome sequencing of every international traveller testing positive for COVID-19.

This will help identify and contain a mutant variant of the coronavirus. This follows the discovery of new variant in the UK, following which India had suspended flight operations with the country for a short time.

The suspension, which was implemented after 20 travellers tested positive for the UK variant after landing in India, was revoked on January 8.

SpiceHealth said the sequencing at the airport would significantly reduce the time to identify a new variant. "CSIR’s experience using portable sequencers suggests that it is possible to identify variants within 48 hours of a person arriving in India and testing positive," the company said. Otherwise, it could take up to a week to identify a new variant, it added.

Read more: Her father's daughter: Avani Singh focuses on the low-cost model of Ajay Singh's SpiceJet to disrupt COVID-19 testing market

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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SpiceHealth has tied up with the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) for the new lab.

Launched late last year, SpiceHealth stared off by offering RT-PCR tests to detect COVID-19. At present, it does up to 15,000 tests a day.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 14, 2021 04:06 pm

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