Step up whole genome sequencing, directs Punjab CM


Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday asked authorities to step up whole genome sequencing to expeditiously identify cases of new Covid variants and to fast track the project for execution of the pact with the ICMR for Regional Institute of Virology in Mohali.

Though no fresh cases of Delta Plus variant, apart from two reported earlier based on May sampling, had been identified in the state, he directed that the whole genome sequencing lab at the Government Medical College in Patiala must become functional this month.

Reviewing the Covid situation, the Chief Minister noted with satisfaction that the state was also starting dry swab testing, with a pilot in Patiala next week.

Sensitivity of the dry swab variant method is 79 per cent and specificity is 99 per cent when compared with standard RT-PCR test as the gold standard. Considering its lesser cost and quick turnaround, the dry swab variant method can be used as a screening tool only in settings where automated RNA extraction is not available.