In a major scientific breakthrough, researchers at the Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) have succeeded in sequencing the whole genome of the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak throughout the globe.
Gujarat’s Chief Minister Office (CMO) praised the scientists at GBRC for becoming the first state government laboratory in the country to achieve this feat. The whole-genome sequence will play an important role in tracking the origin, drug targets, vaccine and association with virulence.
“Gujarat is proud of scientists at Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), the only State Govt laboratory in India that has reported COVID19 whole-genome sequence which will be helpful in tracking origin, drug targets, vaccine & association with virulence,” tweeted CMO Gujarat.
Whole-genome sequencing is used to determine the complete DNA sequence of the genome of a particular organism. The approach for sequencing the coronavirus genome involves obtaining samples from patients that have tested positive for the deadly virus and sending these samples to a sequencing center.
It is to be noted that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) researchers have succeeded in detecting coronaviruses among two species of bats in India, sending a message that active surveillance of bats is required to identify the emerging strains of the viruses that can cause an epidemic in future.
As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis exacerbates in India, the central government on Wednesday earmarked 170 districts as hotspots in the ‘Red Zone’ with the aim to adopt stricter lockdown measures in these regions for checking the pandemic outbreak in its tracks. The Red Zone hotspots are essentially the regions that have reported a significant number of positive cases, contributing more than 80% of cases in India with a doubling rate of less than four days.
Meanwhile, 207 non-hotspot districts ith clusters and non-infected districts have also been classified as ‘Green Zone’.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also stated that there is no community transmission of India so far, adding that the chain of transmission of coronavirus can be broken successfully if no case is reported for 28 days from a particular area.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Tuesday morning announced the extension of the countrywide lockdown till May 3.