Surveillance officers asked to ensure expedited genomic analysis through IGSLs

Representational Image
Representational Image

Jammu, Dec 3: J&K government, as an additional measure vis-a-vis international arrivals, has directed designated surveillance officers to ensure expedited genomic analysis through IGSLs (INSACOG Genome Sequencing Labs).

“The designated surveillance officers must establish close coordination with their designated or tagged INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) for expediting results of genomic analysis,” read an order issued by the Chief Secretary, who is the chairman of the State Executive Committee.

It says that the samples of every COVID positive case will be sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) promptly, as per the India SARS – CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) guidance document.

The officials have been directed to adhere to “close tracking and testing of the contacts of travellers who have tested positive as per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, guidelines.”

“Necessary public health measures should be taken in case the presence of variants of concern or variants of interest (VOCs/VoLs) is reported by the INSACOG network,” it has further instructed.

The guidelines specify that the people from “at-risk” nations who test negative will, however, have to be in home quarantine for seven days. “They should be tested again on the eighth day. If tested negative, they shall be advised to monitor themselves, carefully for at least 2 days,” guidelines specify. The travellers, coming from countries considered not at risk and whose samples have tested negative should be advised to monitor themselves carefully for at least 2 weeks.

It has been advocated to adopt the principle of ‘Test, track, treat and vaccinate’ will be implemented in order to ensure stringent implementation of containment measures as per MoHFW (VoC/VoL) and formation of clusters of cases.

Meanwhile, an official in the Health department said, “We have directions to send all samples of foreign returnees (international travellers) for genome sampling to the lab in Delhi.”

He, however, said that they sent 5 percent of the total COVID positive cases in general for their genome sampling in Delhi.

“They take around one and half months and the period is too long which needs to be reduced to one week time so that the infected patients can be treated timely,” he said. The official said that they had a review meeting yesterday in which they requested their higher ups to ensure that the genome testing report should come within a week's time. “During second wave, we had sent samples for genome sequencing and it came too late when the infected person had recovered from COVID19. In such cases the chances of infection to other persons can be more,” the official cited an example.

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