COVID-19 Data Open To All

posted Dec 27, 2020, 9:36 PM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Jan 13, 2021, 3:47 AM ]

It was as early as January 2020 when Vinod Scaria and his team at Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) knew that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was weeks from hitting India. They had to understand the novel Coronavirus better and fast if diagnostics had to keep pace with the spread. But with the nationwide lockdown, their Delhi lab was shuttered. Of the team of 12, a handful were allowed to work from office. The rest had to manage from home with no infrastructure available to them.


posted Aug 4, 2020, 1:02 AM by Vinod Scaria

Dr Vinod Scaria has been featured in OPEN MINDS 2020: MIND OVER MATTER , Open

The 39-year-old genomic scientist’s initiative provides ready access to genomic, epidemiological datasets and protocols pertaining to Covid-19. He initiated projects to analyse the virus’ genetic data from various parts of India. Conferred the CSIR Young Scientist Award in biological sciences for developing computational tools to analyse genomic data in 2012, Scaria has been pioneering the application of genomics to diagnose and solve rare genetic diseases in India, including discovering novel variants.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to share genomic data on a global scale. The genetic variants in the virus genome would allow effective tracing of the origin

The COVID-19 Open Research, Data and Resources is an initiative to make available research and resources at his lab at the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in an open format to ensure they are widely accessible. Scaria’s genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus is now widely used across the world to understand its characteristics.

Read more at:

COVID-19 Response: Young Scientists Are Among India’s Unsung Heroes

posted Jun 28, 2020, 9:41 PM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Jun 28, 2020, 9:42 PM ]

After the pandemic began, Vinod Scaria’s laboratory at CSIR-IGIB initiated a few projects to analyse the virus’s genetic data as obtained from different parts of the country.

“In the course of our PhD, we work on several exciting scientific questions that are relevant and help science advance in some way or the other. But to work on a project that is the need of the hour is every scientist’s dream,” Mukta Poojary, a PhD student working with Scaria, said. “So without any second thoughts, we quickly jumped on to the tasks that we were assigned.”

Joel P Joseph writes in The Wire.

The Gene Business

posted Mar 9, 2020, 2:34 AM by Vinod Scaria

Technology advances in gene sequencing are creating new opportunities for enterprises in healthcare and other sectors - writes Joe Mathew in Business Today

Are you genetically predisposed to some diseases? Do you carry genetic mutations that can impact the health of your child? A debit card-sized IndiGenome card, recently unveiled by the government, will help you find the answers if your genetic information is captured in a database that India's umbrella research organisation - the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) - is building. Once your genome is sequenced from your blood sample and added to this database, the card can be used to read the information embedded in your genes, just as your debit card is used to generate a financial transaction statement from your bank's database.

Genome sequencing by CSIR to help in Precision Medicine in India

posted Oct 31, 2019, 12:16 AM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Oct 31, 2019, 12:24 AM ]

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has sequenced the entire genomes of 1008 Indians in six months, under a mission that was aimed at demonstrating capability and scalability of Indian research institutions. This initiative, called IndiGen, was undertaken by two CSIR institutions — Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.

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Minister Harsh Vardhan claims project will help in cost-effective, precision medicine.

Genome sequencing by CSIR to help in precision medicinea person with a specific genetic makeup may not be as responsive to a particular drug as he is to another drug. In the age of personalised medicine, such ...

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Genome sequencing to map population diversity

posted Jul 26, 2019, 2:13 AM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Jul 26, 2019, 2:14 AM ]

Jacob Koshy | The Hindu NEW DELHI, APRIL 19, 2019 00:11 IST

CSIR effort set to probe gene-disease link

In an indigenous genetic mapping effort, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The project aims at educating a generation of students on the “usefulness” of genomics.

Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease. This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians will be recruited for a detailed study.

The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme, still in the works, to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.

Typically, those recruited as part of genome-sample collections are representative of the country’s population diversity. In this case, the bulk of them will be college students, both men and women, and pursuing degrees in the life sciences or biology.

“This will not be an exercise to merely collect samples from people,” said Vinod Scaria, a scientist at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), a CSIR laboratory.

“We will be reaching out to a lot of collegians, educating them about genomics and putting a system in place that allows them to access information revealed by their genome,” he said. Because genomics is largely confined to a rich urban demographic in India, this exercise, according to Dr. Scaria, would make such information ubiquitous even to villages. “Just as CT scans are now known across the country, we hope to do the same for genomes,” he said.

5-year-old ‘butterfly’ boy at PGI for treatment

posted Apr 13, 2018, 10:29 PM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Apr 13, 2018, 10:29 PM ]

Shimona Kanwar| TNN | Updated: Apr 12, 2018, 11:13 IST

CHANDIGARH: A five-year-old suffering from dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a painful and rare genetic skin disease, is being treated in PGI. Kids with EB are often referred to as ‘butterfly children’.
The kid has a new genetic alteration, which caused the rare skin disease. A collaborative research between the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi, and PGI has been able to uncover some novel variants in India causing EB. Consequently, molecular diagnosis and prenatal screening have recently helped one such case to terminate the pregnancy as the feotus was found to have a genetic mutation for the rare genetic condition, which makes the skin extremely fragile, almost like a butterfly’s wing. The ‘butterfly kids’ are prone to blisters.

In the area of genetic skin diseases, IGIB has been collaborating with the department of dermatology, PGI, and has been able to solve a number of cases of such diseases with molecular diagnosis. PGI has 40 families affected by this rare skin disease.

In this rare condition, the skin becomes fragile and breaks down in case of any minor pressure or trauma. EB is caused due to mutations, which affect the proteins involved in the architecture and anchoring of the skin layers. The disease has multiple levels of severity (less to moderately severe i.e. dystrophic). People with severe form EB can ultimately die.

“In the recent paper, we described the utility of genomics approach (whole exome sequencing). This approach makes it cost-effective, time-effective and efficient for clinical applications,” said Dr Vinod Scaria, senior scientist, IGIB.

The authors including Dr Rahul Mahajan and Dr Sanjeev Handa from the dermatology department, PGI, have described how this genomic approach could enable diagnosis, prognosis as well as prevention of the disease through appropriate prenatal testing, using the case example of two families.

“In case of both the families, the identification of the genetic variants confirmed clinical diagnosis. In the second family, the identification of novel variants also offered them a possibility to avail prenatal genetic testing,” said Dr Scaria.

Interpretation of a malady: how scientists zeroed in on one family's rare and crippling disease

posted Apr 21, 2017, 3:19 AM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Apr 21, 2017, 11:03 PM ]

The poignant story of an Agra family, where six children have the Nalband mutation. Jacob Koshy reports on how a group of scientists linked it to a rare and crippling neurological disease

Read the full text here 

The year of Personal Genomics (The Hindu, Jan01,2017)

posted Jan 4, 2017, 6:47 AM by Vinod Scaria

The conversation around personal genomics amplified in 2016, as did the range of diagnostic options - by Jacob Koshy
Read Full-text here:

Qatar exome study: An advancement in precision medicine (Nature Middle East)

posted Sep 27, 2016, 12:02 AM by Vinod Scaria   [ updated Oct 4, 2016, 2:30 AM ]

By Louise Sarant 

Scientists look at Qataris' exome sequences to anticipate response to two common blood-thinners
The study, by a team from the Delhi-based CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, will be the first that tries to anticipate the reaction of a Qatari patient to a medication based on his or her genetic makeup. The study will appear in Pharmacogenomics
Scientists have used information from the whole-exome sequencing of 100 Qataris to create a comprehensive map of pharmacogenetic variants associated with two anticoagulants.

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