What is INSACOG and its role in COVID-19 fight?


The first samples of India’s double mutant variant were detected in Nagpur, Maharashtra in October 2020. Since then, the virus strain has been seen across 44 countries, including Australia, Germany, and the UK.

Under the umbrella of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortia (INSACOG), the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad has been conducting genome sequencing of COVID samples to study if the ‘double mutant’ variant is fueling the second wave of COVID-19 in the country.

Is ‘double mutant’ fueling COVID’s 2nd wave: CCMB-INSACOG’s Key findings

•The CCMB-INSACOG study of the ‘double mutant’ variant of coronavirus showed that there is no evidence of double mutant behind the surge in cases in Maharashtra or the country.

•The CCMB highlighted that the ‘double mutant’ variant is a matter of concern but one should not panic. People should continue following COVID protocols as the spread of the variants is largely fueled by inappropriate COVID behavior.

•The double mutant was first found when the INSACOG conducted found two mutations during the genome sequencing of 200 virus samples collected from Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, and Gujarat.

What is INSACOG and its role in COVID-19 fight?

•INSACOG stands for Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortia. It is a national multi-agency consortium that was set up by the Indian Government in December 2020.

•Ten laboratories of CSIR, ICMR, Department of Biotechnology, and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare were combined to form the INSACOG consortium. 17 more labs will be added to increase the current capacity of genome sequencing.

•After the reports of a sudden outbreak of a UK variant of coronavirus came to light, the Government proposed to expand genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 across the country.

•INSACOG will assess the genomic variants of the coronavirus through a multi-laboratory network. Genome Sequencing of the virus can assist scientists to understand the hotspots of the variants of coronavirus, how the virus spreads and evolves, and aid in developing potential COVID vaccines.

•The data collected from genome sequencing of the virus will further aid in studying linkages between the variants and epidemiological waves (super-spreader events, outbreaks) of the virus.

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