The first genome sequencing laboratory in western Uttar Pradesh is almost ready and is likely to begin its operation soon at the Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) in Kasna, Greater Noida.
As of now, samples are sent to Delhi or Lucknow for genome sequencing. With fewer labs catering to large numbers of samples, it takes up to a week’s time to know about the genetic composition of a microorganism causing disease. Also, the district health authorities are only informed about the reports if there are abnormal results, said health department sources.
Gene sequencing has become imperative with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic as a number of variants of the deadly virus quickly showed up over the past couple of years, presenting different symptoms. This made it extremely vital to identify the variants that are affecting patients. However, the method is used in several other diseases as well.
“Our permissions are sorted and the lab is nearly ready to operate. We can start functioning by May 10, and we will initially be able to test about 50 samples on a daily basis. Not just Covid-19, this lab will help in the genome sequencing of several other diseases such as dengue fever that presents in four different forms. Other viral infections can also be tracked and treated accordingly, if we know the origin and composition of what caused them,” said Brigadier Dr Rakesh Gupta (retired), director, GIMS.
GIMS has also received additional land for the expansion of its campus and conducting MBBS, nursing and paramedical courses. According to officials, work on the new premises, which is adjacent to the existing building, will now be expedited and the new courses will be started within a year.
Meanwhile, Gautam Budh Nagar district reported 120 fresh cases on Monday, taking the active caseload to 650. Cases had dropped marginally on Sunday when the district reported less than 100 cases after a gap of five days. Overall, Gautam Budh Nagar had 22% higher cases on Monday compared to Sunday.
With increasing cases, Noida police has also started taking strict action against people not wearing masks in public places. On Sunday evening, 1,018 people were penalised in various market areas.
“All police stations are conducting regular drives in their respective areas, asking people to wear masks through announcements over public address (PA) systems. Masks are also being distributed and penalties are being imposed for flouting Covid-19 guidelines. Police stations across the district penalised 1,018 people and conducted extensive checking drives on Sunday,” said a spokesperson from the media cell of the Gautam Budh Nagar police, requesting anonymity.
Since April 18, the state government has made it mandatory to wear masks in public places in the six NCR districts of Gautam Budh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Meerut, Baghpat and Bulandshahr, along with state capital Lucknow.