From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : INSACOG
Mains level : NA
The PM has announced that the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) would be extended to India’s neighbouring countries.
What is INSACOG?
- INSACOG was established in December 2020 as a joint initiative of the Union Health Ministry of Health and Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
- It aims to expand the whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease, across India with the aim of understanding how the virus spreads and evolves.
- It functions under the Ministry of Science and Technology with the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
Composition of INSACOG
- INSACOG started out with the participation of 10 national research laboratories of the central government, and gradually expanded to a network of 38 labs.
- It now includes private labs operating on a hub-and-spoke model.
- These works to monitor genomic variations in SARS-CoV-2 by a sentinel sequencing effort which is facilitated by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
- It now involves the Central Surveillance Unit (CSU) under the central government’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP).
Working of the INSACOG
- The data from the genome sequencing laboratories is analysed as per the field data trends to study the linkages, if any, between the genomic variants and epidemiological trends.
- INSACOG helps to understand super spreader events and outbreaks, and strengthen public health interventions across the country to help break chains of transmission.
- Linking this data with IDSP data and the patient’s symptoms helps to better understand viral infection dynamics, and trends of morbidity and mortality.
- The data can be linked with host genomics, immunology, clinical outcomes, and risk factors for a more comprehensive outlook.
- Sequencing assumes added significance as the incidence of reinfections and vaccine breakthroughs increases.