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Coronavirus third wave: Karnataka begins genome sequencing of children to prepare

The move to study genome sequences of the virus that infected children is part of Karnataka's effort to prepare for the third wave of infections.

June 17, 2021 / 01:52 PM IST
The move to study genome sequences of the virus that infected children is part of the state's effort to prepare for the third wave of infections. Representative picture

The move to study genome sequences of the virus that infected children is part of the state's effort to prepare for the third wave of infections. Representative picture


Karnataka has started genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus among children who tested positive during the second wave to determine whether the infections are being caused by the newer variants of the virus.

The state has tasked Prof V Ravi, a former professor of virology, to study the gene sequences in samples of children who tested positive for COVID-19, as per an Indian Express report.

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Ravi said that samples are being collected and they need to be processed. "We should have data and information in about 15 days,” he said, as quoted by the publication.

The move to study genome sequences of the virus that infected children is part of the state's effort to prepare for the third wave of infections.

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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.

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"We have discussed the issue of infections among children and some additional work is required to study the genomic sequencing of viruses from samples of children," said Prof MK Sudarshan, the chairman of the state technical advisory committee, as per the report.

The state government had earlier in June formed a Genomic Surveillance Committee to identify the emerging strains early so that scientists can establish the transmissibility of the new strain.

The committee, under the leadership of Dr V Ravi, will assist the Karnataka COVID-19 Task Force in taking decisions towards controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel has also been tasked with "Genome sequencing to study virus variations/mutations and conduct an in-depth analysis of genome surveillance and vaccination to identify immune escape versions of virus and their spread".

Meanwhile, Karnataka reported 7,345 new cases of COVID-19 and 148 fatalities on June 16, taking the total number of infections to 27,84,355 and the deaths to 33,296, the Health Department said. The total number of active cases in the state is 1,51,566.

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first published: Jun 17, 2021 01:52 pm

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