Genomic sequencing – A huge problem in Bihar and UP

A study says UP sequenced more genomes than Bihar

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Bihar and UP are seen to be the worst in genomic sampling, according to a study by Business Standard Photo: National Human Genome Research Institute
Bihar and UP are seen to be the worst in genomic sampling, according to a study by Business Standard Photo: National Human Genome Research Institute

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are particularly affected by genome sequencing programs. These states are the least in charge of the Covid-19 protocols.

According to a Business Standard study, while the government hoped to sequence 5% of all positive samples from each state, it only achieved 12% of the needed capacity. 

According to the most recent data, statistics from INSACOG’s weekly bulletin indicated that the government could sample only 0.58% of all positive cases beginning in January 2021 through 10 January. 

However, while this represented an improvement over the 0.48% sampling rate achieved in October 2021, it was still significantly lower than the predicted capacity of 5%.

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Aim and Statistics for genomic sequencing

According to statistics acquired from the Indian Nucleotide Data Archive-Controlled Access (INDA-CA) website, 129,063 samples have been sent to INSACOG for genome sequencing since the beginning of this year. Additional samples were gathered through Memorandums of Understanding with state governments, bringing the total number of samples collected to 21,809 samples.

The samples collected by INSACOG for genome sequencing came from five different states, accounting for 45% of the total samples collected by the organization for genome sequencing. The organization for genome sequencing collected a total of 129,063 samples.

Compared to the national average, 10 of the 36 states and territories had lower rates of genome sequencing than the national average, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information

Calculating the rate of genomic sequencing is done by dividing the total number of positive cases in the state between 31 December 2020 and 10 January 2022 by the total number of samples received for sequencing during that same period.

The Condition

Bihar has trailed behind the rest of the country by a long shot in genome sequencing. The IGIMS testing laboratory, which was devoted to this purpose on 3 January and has only processed 72 samples as of that date, has only processed 72 samples. According to the results, one sample had an Omicron value of 67, four samples had a Delta value of four, and one sample had an undetermined outcome.

According to the experts, geneticists and biotechnologists in Bihar have attributed the poor pace of genome sequencing to a lack of reagents and the absence of mainstream scientific institutes in the state. Centers for genetics and biotechnology, as well as immunology and bioinformatics, are examples of such institutions.

Other fields of expertise include proteomics, fermenting technology, and others. However, because of a scarcity of genome sequencing capabilities, even the AIIMS and the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences in Patna, operated by the Indian Council of Medical Research, were barred from participating in the INSACOG.

The Report

While Sikkim had the greatest rate of genome sequencing at 4.5%, which means that the state sequenced 4.5% of its positive cases, it also had the lowest rate of positive cases per 10,000 people, with eight positive cases for every 10,000 people.

Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have the worst performance (genomic sequenced samples as a proportion of 10,000 positive cases). Though slower than the national average, Uttar Pradesh sequenced more genomes than Bihar. From 10 January to 10 February, the state obtained genetic samples from twenty positive instances out of every 10,000 cases.

Every 10,000 positive cases in Maharashtra and Kerala, the two states with the highest number of positive cases during this period, were sequenced, yielding 322 and 27 samples, respectively. Due to its tiny sequencing sample size, Bihar has been unable to contribute significantly to the INSACOG study assessing the severity of Covid-19 polymorphisms and associated sub-lineage variations.

Things are still in the process of clearing up, and numerous procedures have yet to be followed. Several factors have contributed to the slowing down of genome sequencing, which has led to the infection of a significant number of people with the Covid-19 virus. Nevertheless, there is still hope that the authorities will look into the situation and act in the best interests of its people, state, and country.

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