Tamil Nadu is moving towards establishing a genomic sequencing lab in the state capital within a month to analyse swab samples of Covid-19 to find out their variants. The state’s first such lab will be set up at Rs 2.5 crore.
The genomic sequencing lab will be run jointly by the King Institute of Preventive Medicine and Research and the Department of Public Health, officials said. The move comes amid the need to analyse swab samples to find out their variants – the state is currently sending samples for genomic sequencing to Pune or Bengaluru.
“We have written to the ICMR regarding setting up of the lab. We hope to set up the new lab in a month. This will help us analyse and study the samples in Chennai rather than sending them to other cities,” J Radhakrishnan, Principal Secretary (Health), told DH.
The state has so far reported nine cases of Delta Plus variant. While three samples were sent by the health department, six were sent to a genomic sequencing lab by an ICMR-affiliated institution in the state capital.
Meanwhile, Radhakrishnan has written to district collectors on the steps to be taken if any person is found to be infected with Delta plus variant of Covid-19. “If he/she is found to have symptoms, he/she be hospitalised and followed up. Immediate contact tracing of the identified person’s contacts including family members, colleagues and neighbours with whom he/she may have interacted,” the letter said.
He also asked the district authorities to test the contacts on “war footing.”