Virus Hunters Map the Corona Genome (E)

The Covid-19 disease has been ravaging the world for more than 18 months. We take a look at how India’s highly skilled virus hunters track and map the genome of the Coronavirus in an effort to tame the pandemic. In this cat and mouse game between the SARS-CoV-2 and human beings, the virus changes its colour and flavour as humans slowly get a handle on one variant of the virus. Why do variants evolve in virus? How are variants identified? Today there are at least four widely known variants alpha, gamma, beta and delta. India also has a version which is called delta plus. India has mapped more than 35,000 individual genomes of the virus, in a smart sampling methodology say scientists. What is the implication of the evolution of variants on the key control strategy of vaccinating the population? Do all authorised vaccines work against all variants? Sequencing of the genome of the SARS COV 2 virus is complex process with manual wet lab approaches even though a lot it has also been automated. In this episode of Life in Science with Pallava Bagla - a close look at the highly technical process of sequencing the genome of this new RNA virus, and more importantly, understanding how the pandemic will end.

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