Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura
Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura

SRINAGAR — J&K’s first genome sequencing lab has been made functional at SKIMS Soura. Dr. Bashir Ahmad Fomda, Head of Department Microbiology at SKIMS Soura told the news agency KNO that the genome sequencing lab has been made functional at SKIMS Soura and has started receiving batches of samples.

“The lab will, as of now, take care of the requirement of genome sequencing for the whole UT as samples from Jammu will also be tested here,” he said.

He said that it will take around a week in receiving, testing, and analysis of the samples.

A Health official said that they no longer need to wait for months to get results from genome sequencing lab outside J&K. “Now, the lab has been made functional in SKIMS Soura and we can get confirmation of circulating variant in about a week,” he said.

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He said that making the lab functional will help the authorities to improve the capacity of surveillance efforts in J&K.

The official said that when they will get information about the circulating variants in time, the authorities can take steps accordingly. He said that getting the results of samples sent for genome sequencing late was hampering their efforts to track the spread of new variants.

“As of now, samples will be sent for genome sequencing to SKIMS. If their reports would come around a week, it would be easy to find contacts of the person in whose sample new variant was detected,” he said.

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“But we are getting reports of the Omicron after two or three weeks when patients had already recovered from the disease, it then was difficult to find contacts of the person found positive for new variant especially when the variant is highly transmissible,” the official said.

J&K had no whole genome sequencing labs due to which tests were being sent to NCDC Delhi from where reports were coming very late.

Following the second wave of COVID-19 in J&K, the government had planned to set up two genome sequencing labs, one each in Srinagar and Jammu, but as of now, labs haven’t been functional anywhere yet.

The samples were sent to the Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Delhi for genome sequencing.

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