RMRC Dibrugarh successfully isolates strain of COVID-19 virus is same across the world: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Guwahati, July 1: After NIV (ICMR Lab), Pune and CCMB (CSIR Lab), Hyderabad, the Reginal Medical Research Centre for NE Region (ISMR-RMRC), Lahowal in Assam’s Dibrugarh district has been successful in isolating the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus.

Assam Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said that the RMRC, Lahowal has been able to separate the strain of COVID-19 virus and according to the RMRC, Lahowal the strain across the world is same.

The COVID-19 virus which is just over six-months-old has spread across all human communities and scientists now have detected over 10 different clades or strains circulating the world. Originally only two types of the virus were noted, the L-type and the S-type but the S-type is slowly disappearing. The scientists of RMRC Dibrugarh in April this year also developed an in-house test (TSP-PCR) to detect the L or S type of the virus within 3 hours. It was found that all strains circulating in Assam were L-type,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The Assam minister further said that, now scientists have classified the virus into different clades (O, A1, A2a, A3, B, B1, and so on) which differ from one another very minutely.

The A2a clade is now the most dominant clade across the world including India. Infact world over, the SARS-CoV-2 virus strains circulating differs by less than 0.3 per cent,” Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

The Assam minister further said that this is important for the development of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine where virus grown in laboratory are inactivated by heat or chemical and purified for use as vaccines after pre-clinical and clinical trials. The RMRC has isolated the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) in VERO-CCL81 cell line in the BSL-3 level laboratory.

According to the RMRC, Lahowal, the strain variations till now in different geographical regions of the world should not pose a problem for vaccine development.

On the other hand, the Assam government has decided to set up a plasma bank in Guwahati in the next 4-5 days and will start plasma therapy.

Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the state Health Department has already installed plasma separator equipments at Guwahati Medical College Hospital.

We hope that, within a week we will start plasma therapy in Guwahati. Our training programme for it is going on. We will collect plasma from the cured COVID-19 patients,” the Assam Health minister said.

Assam has so far reported 8547 COVID-19 positive cases.