India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

India has been witnessing a surge in cases in many States. There is no reason to believe that the variant will behave differently in India or that Indians have some unknown shield of protection against the virus. The Omicron variant is galloping across the U.S. and many countries in Europe at a pace never seen … Continue reading India should prepare for the worst with Omicron

Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?

Positive samples sent for genome sequencing to confirm for the Omicron variant are almost primarily restricted to international passengers. Not only are the testing rates across India low, most of the RT-PCR test kits used in most States do not have the S-gene target in the primer, which can detect the BA.1 sub-lineage. Also, the … Continue reading Is the current testing, sequencing strategy missing Omicron cases in India?

Criticised if delayed in sharing data, punished for diligently posting data

China was severely criticised for the long delay in sharing information and posting the genome sequence data. But when South Africa and Botswana diligently posted the sequence data on the public database, they were penalised. What incentive will countries have in sharing data on a timely fashion. If China was severely criticised for keeping the … Continue reading Criticised if delayed in sharing data, punished for diligently posting data

India falters in administering the second dose

Even as the daily fresh cases have been on an overall downward trend since it peaked in early May, the pace of vaccination has slowed down sharply since hitting a peak in September. Only 38% have been fully vaccinated though nearly 80% of all eligible adults have received the first dose. Nearly 43% of people … Continue reading India falters in administering the second dose

India unlikely to witness a huge surge in cases in September

While NITI Aayog has predicted four-five lakh cases a day in September, the ground reality suggests otherwise. Daily cases in all States except Kerala have been steadily declining since the second wave peaked in early May. Unlike in other countries such as the U.S. which is witnessing a surge in cases caused by the Delta … Continue reading India unlikely to witness a huge surge in cases in September

How can India contain the second wave?

In a conversation I moderated, Dr. Gautam Menon, Professor of Physics and Biology at Ashoka University and Dr. Giridhara Babu, epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India, Bengaluru and a member of the Karnataka COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee discuss some possible options available to contain the second wave. Edited excerpts: After daily new COVID-19 … Continue reading How can India contain the second wave?

As cases spike in a few States, what is causing a decline in Kerala?

Even as daily new cases and test positivity rates have been declining in Kerala since end-January, the Health Ministry has been mischievously implicating the State for a surge in new cases. While researchers think the decline could be due to infection rate reaching close to herd immunity, serosurvey results show otherwise. Kerala pioneers post-COVID care … Continue reading As cases spike in a few States, what is causing a decline in Kerala?

ACTREC’s automated tool makes SARS-CoV-2 genome mutation analysis easy

The IPD tool can automatically determine the abundance of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, carry out mutation analysis with respect to the Wuhan sequence and finally based on the mutations seen in each sample assign it to the respective phylogenetic clade. Assigning a sample to a phylogenetic clade is based on the complete profile of mutations seen … Continue reading ACTREC’s automated tool makes SARS-CoV-2 genome mutation analysis easy

A case of coronavirus reinfection in Hong Kong confirmed by genome sequencing

Using genome sequencing, researchers at the University of Hong Kong have found a rare instance of reinfection with novel coronavirus for the second time, four-and-a-half months after the first infection. The first viral genome belongs to GISAID clade V, while the second genome belongs to GISAID clade G. Using genome sequencing, researchers at the University … Continue reading A case of coronavirus reinfection in Hong Kong confirmed by genome sequencing

CCMB, IGIB start sequencing novel coronavirus genome

With CSIR labs now permitted to test samples of novel coronavirus, Hyderabad-based CCMB and Delhi-based IGIB have started sequencing the genome. CCMB has already sequenced the genome of five isolates. As on April 7, India has shared nine whole genome sequences of novel coronavirus (SRAS-CoV-2) with the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) … Continue reading CCMB, IGIB start sequencing novel coronavirus genome