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Maharashtra govt to carry out genome sequencing study of coronavirus

The study will be conducted in three rounds over three months at an estimated cost of Rs 1.62 crore which would be met from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

April 30, 2021 / 09:04 PM IST
Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

The Maharashtra government has decided to send coronavirus samples from the state to the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) for genome sequencing, an official order has said.

Samples of 25 COVID-19 patients from each district will be sent every week to the institute, said a Government Resolution (GR) issued on Thursday.

It also informed that `double mutation' in the virus that has been found in the country was detected in the samples from Yavatmal and Amravati.

Samples from the two eastern Maharashtra districts had been sent to the B J Medical College in Pune for examination.

The Kerala government had earlier roped in the IGIB, affiliated to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), for genome sequencing, the GR noted.

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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The study will be conducted in three rounds over three months at an estimated cost of Rs 1.62 crore which would be met from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.

Maharashtra has witnessed a steep increase in coronavirus infections since February. The daily numbers of new cases, which had declined to as low as 2,000 at one point, are regularly crossing 60,000 now.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.