56% Covid samples sent from Himachal for genome sequencing found to have variants

A health department official said 876 samples from 8 RT-PCR laboratories in the state have so far been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in New Delhi for genome sequencing, but the results of most of them are awaited.

VARIANTS OF the coronavirus have been found in 56 per cent samples of Covid patients sent from Himachal Pradesh to a genome sequencing laboratory in Delhi, said state health officials.

A total of 145 virus samples from the state have had their genomes sequenced so far. Of these, 28 per cent were found infected with the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7), 11 per cent with Delta and Kappa variants (B.1.617) and 17 per cent with “some mutants of interest”. No mutation was found in the remaining 44 per cent virus samples.

A health department official said 876 samples from 8 RT-PCR laboratories in the state have so far been sent to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in New Delhi for genome sequencing, but the results of most of them are awaited.

“For the purpose of genome sequencing, priority is being given to samples of patients with severe illness or prolonged admission, suspected reinfection, suspected vaccination failure/infection following vaccination, and other unique cases. In another kind of surveillance under genome sequencing, we are also looking at clusters of cases, suspected super-spreader events etc.,” said the official.

3,000 police personnel infected

Around 3,000 police personnel in Himachal have been infected with Covid so far, the police department said in a press release. Most of them have recovered but 241 are still battling the disease under home isolation and six of them died, it added.

Super-speciality makeshift hospital

A makeshift hospital having 104 oxygenated beds, an 18-bedded emergency care unit (ECU), a 10-bedded labour-cum-recovery room and an operation theatre was thrown open at Bhangrotu in Mandi district on Thursday.

Every bed has a direct oxygen supply from a plant, and the hospital also has a defibrillator machine for stabilising heart rate during an attack, and an anaesthesia work station, government officials said.

“Once the pandemic is over, this hospital will be useful as a super-speciality hospital,” said Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur after inaugurating it.

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