Telangana draws action plan to tackle UK variant
- Unconfirmed reports say a UK returnee from Secunderabad infected with it
- Central government is yet to issue guidelines or treatment protocols
- We need to step up viral genome sequencing tests, say CCMB scientists
Hyderabad: With UK mutant strain of the coronavirus reportedly entering the State, the Telangana health department has chalked out an action plan on its own to tackle the big challenge.
The Centre asked States to conduct corona tests and genome sequencing almost a week ago, but it did not elaborate on treatment procedures. However, without wasting any time, the State health department worked out measures such as tracing the UK returnees for testing and keeping the positive cases in isolation at designated hospitals. Senior officials said that they did not receive any treatment protocols or procedures to be adopted for covid-infected UK flyers or those if found with the new UK Strain.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports stated that a UK returned passenger from Secunderabad was also found to have been infected with the new variant in the genome sequencing tests done in CCMB. This, if confirmed, will be the second person to have been infected with the new strain. It may be noted that a 49-year old resident of Warangal who returned from UK was diagnosed with UK variant in tests done at CCMB. This information was shared by union health ministry on Tuesday. The mother of the Warangal resident also tested positive and her sample was also sent for genome sequencing to CCMB.
The new virus infected UK flyers are being kept in single room isolation in designated health facilities, the ministry said. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on, the ministry said in a statement.
Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is one of the ten research institutes in India that is tracing the new variant here. "We need to expedite the viral genome sequencing efforts, and check for the presence of the new variant in India. We have used both, the traditional Sanger sequencing method as well as the modern Next-Gen Sequencing tools," according to Dr Divya Tej Sowpati who leads the coronavirus genome sequencing efforts at CCMB, Hyderabad.