CSIR-IMTech to start novel coronavirus genome sequencing

16 - April - 2020

IMTECH to carryout genome sequencing of coronavirus SARS-Cov-2to understand its evolution and mutation pattern

CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) has initiated whole genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus SARS-Cov-2. Whole genome sequencing is the method used to determine the complete DNA sequence of a specific organism’s genome. CSIR-IMTECH along with other sister CSIR laboratories, with specialization in genomics, medicine and cell biology, has embarked upon this ambitious project to carry out large-scale genome sequencing of the various SARS-Cov-2 strains across the country.

With its expertise in microbial and genomic research, CSIR-IMTECH will perform sequencing of the SARS-Cov-2 RNA genome isolated from clinical samples. Viruses have higher mutation rate than other microbes and their genetic material keeps on changing quickly as they replicate rapidly. The complete genome sequence information will enable researchers to gain insights about the origins of the virus, the different types of strains circulating in India and how has it spread across the length and breadth of our country. The genomic resource obtained from this sequencing will also allow identification of new targets for diagnosis and drugs for COVID 19.

Dr. Sanjeev Khosla, Director, CSIR-IMTECH said, “CSIR-IMTECH has been at the forefront in augmenting efforts of the Government to fight COVID 19. We have already started clinical testing of samples and now by embarking on this mission to sequence viral strains, we will be better equipped to understand the nature of this virus which has caused a global pandemic.” CSIR-IMTECH will be using its experience in portable, real-time and direct genome sequencing to study the chemical modification in SARS-Cov-2 strains from India.