VP Venkaiah Naidu calls for fast-tracking of genome sequencing of new COVID-19 variants

Hyderabad, Jul 02 (PTI):
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday called for fast-tracking of genome sequencing of new COVID-19 variants to speed up finding suitable vaccines and drugs. The Vice President visited the CSR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology’s LaCONES (Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species) facility here and witnessed a presentation by Scientist-in-charge of LACONES. Addressing scientists and research scholars, Naidu observed that sequencing, as an adjunctive tool, plays a critical role in identifying the emergence of new viral mutations and thus helps combat the spread of Covid-19, an official release said. It would also help in timely interventions, he added. Stating that the need for genome sequencing of new variants becomes crucial in the light of reports of some big cats contracting COVID-19 in a few zoos in the country, Naidu pointed out species jump of a virusfrom humans to animals or vice versacould lead to new variants and pose fresh challenges in the ongoing fight against the pandemic. He also stressed the need for strengthening international collaborations by research institutions to study the feasibility of developing a universal vaccine that could neutralise various SARS-CoV-2 variants. Appealing to the people to shed vaccine hesitancy, he reiterated that vaccines made in India are safe and effective and everyone should get vaccinated and encourage others to do so too. He called for cultural and sporting icons to become active partners in the drive and motivate people to go for vaccination. “Vaccination drive should become a national movement,” he stressed. Complimenting CCMB for its contribution to the cause of COVID-19 mitigation, Naidu referred to the need for strong collaborative arrangements between institutions and added that LaCONES-CCMB, was rightly positioned to make linkages at both national and international levels, to understand the emergence of infectious diseases and prevent such pandemics
in the future.

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