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CSIR moots ‘mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing

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CSIR moots ‘mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing:


To speed up testing as well as improve the accuracy of testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) positive cases, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing “mega labs”.

  • In these labs, large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS), which are also used for sequencing human genomes, will be repurposed to sequence 1,500-3,000 viral genomes at a go for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.

Significance and benefits of these mega labs:

  • These genome sequencing machines can substantially detect the possible presence of the virus even in several instances where the traditional RT-PCR(reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests miss out on them.
  • RT-PCR test identifies the SARS-CoV-2 virus by exploring only specific sections of the virus whereas the genome method can read a bigger chunk of virus genome and thereby provide more certainty that the virus in question is indeed the particular coronavirus of interest.
  • It can also trace the evolutionary history of the virus and track mutations more reliably.
  • The NGS does not need primers and probes, and only needs custom reagents.

What is Genome Sequencing?

It is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanines, and Thymine that make up an organism’s DNA.


Prelims Link:

  1. What is Genome Sequencing?
  2. How it works?
  3. RNA vs DNA.
  4. How RT- PCR works?
  5. What kind of virus is the

Mains Link:

What is genome sequencing? How it helps prevent the spread of COVID 19?

Sources: the Hindu.