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  • A consortium of four city clusters – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Pune – has been established to upscale genomic surveillance on SARS-CoV-2.
  • INSACOG is a forum set up under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare by the Government of India on 25 December 2020, to study and monitor genome sequencing and virus variation of circulating strains of COVID-19 in India.
  • It established with the support and seed funding of the Rockefeller Foundation and is led by CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.

Genomic surveillance:

  • The genome of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is composed of Ribonucleic Acid or RNA, a single strand of 30,000 units (called bases) that make up all its genes.
  • The virus multiplies inside human cells, it needs to copy its genome to make more viral particles, a process called replication. Copying errors are sometimes introduced in this process.
  • These copying errors introduce mutations or changes to the genomic sequence.
  • Genomic surveillance allows researchers to examine the genome sequence of the viral strains infecting the population.