What is India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG)?

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What is India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG)? Blog Image

Overview:

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in India and the detection of a subvariant JN.1, the India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) chief said that no additional dose of vaccine is needed against the subvariant at present.

About India SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG)

  • It is jointly initiated by the Union Health Ministry of Health and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • It is a consortium of 54 laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 by a sentinel sequencing effort, which is facilitated by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Delhi, involving the Central Surveillance Unit (CSU) under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP). 
  • Why was INSACOG established?
    • The SARS-CoV-2 virus, commonly known as the COVID-19 virus, posed unprecedented public health challenges globally.
    • Against this backdrop, INSACOG was established to expand the whole genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus across the nation, aiding our understanding of how the virus spreads and evolves, and providing information to aid public health response.
    • Any changes to the genetic code or mutations in the virus can be observed based on the analysis and sequencing of samples done in the laboratories under INSACOG.
  • INSACOG has the following specific objectives:
    • To ascertain the status of Variants of Interest (VoI) and Variants of Concern (VoC) in the country.
    • To establish sentinel surveillance and surge surveillance mechanisms for early detection of genomic variants and assist in formulating an effective public health response.
    • To determine the presence of genomic variants in samples collected during super-spreader events and in areas reporting an increasing trend of cases/deaths etc.

Q1) What is the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP)?

It was launched by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in 2004 to strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory based IT enabled disease surveillance systems for epidemic prone diseases.