Bhubaneswar: The Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, recently chosen for human Covid-19 vaccine trial, has taken up advanced next generation sequencing study of SARS-CoV-2 virus in collaboration with the Delhibased Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Keeping in view the situation emerging out of the Coronavirus pandemic in Odisha and the rising number of cases, the project’s objective will be to understand the Covid-19 molecular and transmission pattern in the state, Dr. Jayashankar Das, Director (Research), IMS and SUM Hospital, said.

IMS and SUM Hospital is the faculty of medical sciences of the SOA Deemed to be University here. The whole genome study is the most advanced technology for any therapeutic and diagnostic development requiring highly skilled personnel for its analysis, he said.

Dr. Das, who is the Lead Investigator of the project, said the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing would be carried out not only to understand the transmission ability, mutation and evolution of the virus but also to develop quick strategy for effective screening and new diagnostics. “Six clusters of human Coronavirus were randomly found in India of which presence of four had been confirmed in different parts of Odisha. We propose to conduct sequencing of 500 viral genomes to understand the mild, moderate and critical coronavirus infection along with its transmission capabilities,” he said.

The research, which has already received the approval of the Institutional Ethics Committee of IMS and SUM Hospital, would also seek to isolate genes responsible for transmission of Covid-19 as it was transmitting very fast, Dr. Das said adding a larger number of genome study would be required for the purpose in order to conclude the vulnerability and human-virus interaction . “The focus would be on understanding the genomic evolution, transmission pattern and infection capabilities of SARS-CoV-2. It would also help in improvement of existing molecular diagnostic kits,” he said.