CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and SpiceHealth have partnered to set up a portable testing laboratory for genome sequencing at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport for all positive samples from international travellers.
The move is aimed at ensuring early action in containing new mutant variants of COVID-19 detected in United Kingdom and other countries.
According to a press release, all positive samples from international travellers arriving at Delhi's IGI airport would be sequenced at the airport sequencing laboratory to ensure early action in containing new mutant variants that have increased transmissibility.
SpiceHealth's genome sequencing laboratory was inaugurated by Niti Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul.
The release said that sequencing at the airport is expected to significantly minimize the time to necessary action.
"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. If the samples are shipped to regional sequencing labs and then sequenced with the next batch, such time would be approximately one week or more. Sequencing at the airport could thus save as much as five days of potential transmission, reducing the spread of the imported variant strains," it said.
Av Singh, CEO, SpiceHealth, said their collaboration with CSIR-IGIB is a significant step towards early detection of new mutant variants.
"Early detection will be crucial to stop the spread of new mutant viruses coming into our country," she said.
( With inputs from ANI )
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