60 percent of works completed; staff training at NIMHANS; equipment to arrive soon
Mysore/Mysuru: The process of setting up a Genome-Sequencing Laboratory at Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC&RI) is in full swing and over 60 percent of the works have been completed.
There are three Regional Genome Sequencing Laboratories in Bengaluru — National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), National Institute of Virology – Field Unit and National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS).
Further, in order to derive the meaningful information from the Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and to facilitate the smooth flow of samples to the Regional Genome Sequencing Laboratories, five tertiary care facilities and five laboratories have been identified as sentinel sites.
The lab at MMC&RI will be one such sentinel site. This apart, Victoria Hospital, Bengaluru, Bowring & Lady Curzon Hospital, Bengaluru, Wenlock Hospital, Mangaluru, Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences, Belgaum Institute of Medical Sciences, Hassan Institute of Health Sciences and Bidar Institute Sciences, Bidar have also been identified as sentinel sites. They will get the state-of-the art laboratory and will start receiving samples later next week.
At present, all the samples are being sent to NIMHANS and the other two Regional Genome-Sequencing Laboratories in Bengaluru. T.K. Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary of the Department of Health and Family Welfare said that equipment has been sent to the colleges and they are expected to receive the samples this week.
“The fact is that there are other public health labs attached with the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Consortia (INSACOG) but even they do not receive samples often as the cases are very low. However, the labs set up at the medical colleges will start receiving the samples later this week,” he said.
During the peak of the second wave of COVID-19, the State Government had declared to set up six genome-sequencing labs in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Shivamogga, Hubballi, Mangaluru and Vijayapura. Out of these six labs, four were to be under the jurisdiction of the Medical Education Department and two under the Health Department.
Confirming this to Star of Mysore this morning, MMC&RI Dean and Director Dr. C.P. Nanjaraj said that the lab would come up on the first floor of the Radiology Laboratory in K.R. Hospital where earlier skin-disease patients were housed. “60 percent of the work is complete and we are awaiting the equipment. This lab will be linked to the state-of-the-art Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (VRDL) at the Department of Microbiology in MMC&RI,” he added.
VRDL was leaking due to heavy rains and there were instances of short circuit and this facility will be repaired and MMC&RI is awaiting approval from the Government to carry out repairs. “All this will be done within 15 days and our staff will be trained at NIMHANS,” he said.
5,000 beds ready
Deputy Commissioner Dr, Bagadi Gautham told SOM that the district has been prepared to face the threat of third wave and also Omicron variant. “I have held meetings with Government and private hospitals and the entire infrastructure are being closely monitored. All equipment and manpower are available at K.R, Cheluvamba, District Hospital, Trauma Care Centre, Princess Krishnajammanni Super Speciality Hospital, Seth Mohandas Tulsidas Hospital and we have 5,000 beds at our disposal,” he said.
On treatment protocol, the DC said that guidelines were awaited from the Karnataka Clinical Expert Committee and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). “As of now, the protocols and medicines to be used to counter Omicron have not come and once they are released, all hospitals will follow the same,” he said. The DC has asked people not to panic and compulsorily go for 100 percent vaccination with both the doses.