Hyderabad-based CCMB pitches into COVID-19 battle


Hyderabad: As part of its efforts to understand novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) better and spread awareness about it among the general public, city-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has launched multiple initiatives on COVID-19.

The premier genetic research institute has already launched Coronavirus diagnostic testing facility in Hyderabad with a capacity to conduct 600 to 800 tests per day.

However, what many do not know is the fact that in the last one month, the CCMB researchers conducted a series of training sessions to equip laboratory technicians and healthcare workers with knowledge on conducting the Coronavirus diagnostic tests in high-end laboratories.

At present, Telangana has six laboratories to conduct Coronavirus diagnostic tests, including Gandhi Hospital, CCMB, Institute of Preventive Medicine (IPM), Osmania Medical College, Fever Hospital, and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).

The researchers at CCMB have trained 25 doctors, technical staff and students from these State-run healthcare institutions, including Kakatiya Medical College, Warangal. It also created training videos on best practices for handling patient samples and on conducting tests on PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), which can be made available when contacted.

SARS-CoV2 genome sequencing

Along with other genetic research laboratories affiliated to Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the CCMB has undertaken genome sequencing of Coronavirus. The research institute is performing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and analysis to map out the whole genome sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Officials said that close to 500 patient samples from across the country with high viral load are chosen for genome analyses. The institute has sequenced a few patient viral isolates and aims to sequence several hundred virus isolates in next 3 to 4 weeks.

SARS-CoV2 culture for new drugs

To develop repurposed drugs for the novel Coronavirus, researchers across the country need access to viral cultures, and to ensure the research community has access to enough viral cultures, CCMB is involved in the process of setting-up a system to culture SARS-CoV2 virus. Senior CCMB researchers said that such viral cultures are likley to be ready in the coming days.

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