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Amid rising COVID cases, top scientist calls for ramping up genome sequencing

ANI | Updated: Jun 06, 2022 15:21 IST

By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], June 6 (ANI): As India reported its biggest jump in three months on Monday - an increase of 1,730 active COVID cases in a span of 24 hours - the Director of Tata Institute of Genetics and Society (TIGS) Dr Rakesh Mishra called for increasing genome sequencing, despite the "severity of the disease being extremely low".
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Dr Mishra said, "Omicron and its sub-lineages can reinfect any vaccinated person and/or the ones who have had a natural infection and so on. The severity of the disease is extremely low and most people are going to be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. But if people fall sick, that should be taken very seriously. It may be problematic because maybe, a new variant is coming."
He also said there is a small chance that the new cases may be because of a stronger COVID variant.
Reiterating the need to strengthen genome sequencing, Dr Mishra said, "We should never slow on genome sequencing. I think we have to keep in mind the sampling strategy, and how we are sequencing because that is a very important tool."

He further said that the surge in the cases may be because of a new variant, and therefore, unless genome sequencing is done, "we will not know". "Every person who comes to hospital and reports COVID or has symptoms must be sequenced," he added.
Dr Mishra also said that the chances of a fourth wave are less, but we should take precautions. "People have started taking more liberty and more interactions, no masks, and so on. This gives a chance to the virus," he said.
The scientist added that as long as there is no emergency, "We should not worry so much about it."
India has witnessed a surge in COVID-19 cases on Monday as the country logged 4,518 fresh infections in the last 24 hours, informed the Union Health Ministry.
The country had reported 4,270 COVID infections yesterday. With this, India's daily tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 4,000-mark for the second consecutive day.
As the infections surge, the active COVID caseload in the country stands at 25,782, constituting of 0.06 per cent of India's total positive cases.
The daily positivity rate of 1.62 per cent was observed in the last 24 hours, while the weekly positivity rate was recorded to be 0.91 per cent, the health ministry informed today. (ANI)