The Indian Institute of Science has established a Viral Genome Sequencing Lab at its Centre for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) here.
The lab will focus on studies related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including continuous surveillance and tracking of virus mutations and variants, the Bengaluru-based IISc said.
For more than a year, IISc’s CIDR has been actively working with the state and central government to provide COVID-19 RT-PCR diagnostic services and conducting research involving the SARS-COV-2 virus, it said.
The new viral genome sequencing facility will be an important addition to the CIDR and will enhance the ongoing efforts to better understand SARS-CoV-2 virus evolution and its impact on our health, an IISc statement said.
The lab was established with a grant from CryptoRelief, which supported the expansion of the existing Viral BSL3 facility at IISc. The expanded lab was inaugurated by a team of CryptoRelief core volunteers in the presence of Deans and faculty members of IISc on Sunday.
”The expanded Viral BSL3 facility will support research on assessment of virulence and cross-reactive immunity of SARS-CoV-2 mutants and variants of concern in cell culture and animal models”, IISc said.
IISc Director Professor Govindan Rangarajan, said: “The Viral Genome Sequencing Lab will contribute not only towards tackling the threat that COVID-19 poses, but will also ensure that we are ready to handle future health emergencies as well.”
A member of the CryptoRelief core volunteer team said: “The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been evolving over time. Understanding the new variants that are coming up and whether existing vaccines can combat these variants is important. Through this support, we intend to take a step towards that.”
CryptoRelief is a community-run fund mobilizing to help India combat the COVID-19 crisis, and to help it prepare for future outbreaks. The fund was started by Sandeep Nailwal (co-founder, Polygon) and has since been supported by Vitalik Buterin (co-founder, Ethereum) and Balaji S. Srinivasan (former CTO at Coinbase), it was stated.