NIMHANS to release reports of the UK returned people by December 28

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From the 13 people that returned from UK to Karnataka, a report will released about any incidence of the new strain of Covid-19 on Monday, as per the experts of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).

Presently, the laboratory of NIMHANS is working on 12 samples and another is shortly going to be passed on from Mysuru.

Dr V Ravi, Neurovirology, Head of the Department, NIMHANS revealed to Deccan Herald that the results of the samples will be released by Monday. He said, “We have received 13 Covid samples, including nine from Bengaluru, three from Shivamogga. One more sample from Mysuru is yet to reach us. Sequencing results of all these samples will be out on Monday.”

According to Dr Ravi, though the samples are presently being processed into the laboratories of NIMHANS, they will be sent to the laboratory at the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). He said, “We can sequence 12 samples per run and it will take about 72 hours to sequence a sample. While the run takes about 12 to 24 hours, the analysis alone will take about 48 hours. NCBS will help us in sequencing a few samples and we have requested access to their server.”

 Professor Satyajit Mayor, Director, NCBS said, “At NCBS, we have large next-generation sequencing arrays — Illumina, but we are also trying to set up Nanopore technology which will sequence a small number of samples. We can run even one sequence in Illumina but the cost is prohibitive. But Nimhans has this technology and we can help with the analysis of the sequence.”

He further added, “The reference strain to confirm if the sample has the UK strain of the virus will be taken from an international repository of genome sequences: GISAID. We will be looking for a mutation in a single amino acid which is responsible for increased transmissibility. But there are nine mutants in the variant. To determine where the variant is coming from, we have to know the entire genome sequence.”

The Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) is an international initiative which caters to an open access to the genomic data of influenza viruses and the Covid-19 virus.

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