The CCMB and IGIB have asked for samples from the patients who got infected with the Coronavirus from the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Coronavirus outbreak: India’s fight against COVID-19 continues! Two institutes under the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi, have started working together to study the sequencing of novel coronavirus genomes. Whole-genome sequencing is the method used to determine the complete sequence of DNA in the genome of a particular organism. The advanced coronavirus sequencing technique includes collecting samples from patients considered to be positive and sending these samples to a sequencing centre. Sequencing of genomes involves a very large number of samples for analysis. A proper study of the viral genome will also pave the way for vaccine preparation against the Coronavirus.
Three to four persons from both institutes are working continuously on the sequencing of the entire genome. Researchers would be able to obtain at least 200-300 isolates over the next 3-4 weeks and this knowledge would help them draw some more assumptions about the ‘behaviour’ by the Coronavirus.
Emphasizing the role of genome study, she said ‘’the genome sequences could provide insights into the genetic variants in the virus, which could define the origin of the virus, what is known as molecular epidemiology. This is possible because the virus accumulates genetic mutations, almost 1 in every 15 days or so.’’ the head of PVE division of IGIB Jyoti Sharma told exclusively to Financial Express Online.
Speaking on the timeline of the project to study the genome of the Coronavirus, she added “the study has already been initiated in collaboration with the National Centre for Disease Control (MoHFW, Government of India). The initial genome sequences are expected to be released by the end of April, Financial Express Onlne has learnt. On the question of availability of access to the genome studies conducted by China, she told that “genomes sequenced across the world and deposited in public resources are accessible to India. A comprehensive collection of genomes available has also been compiled”, she added in his response.
The CCMB and IGIB have asked for samples from the patients who got infected with the Coronavirus from the National Institute of Virology, Pune. ‘’We would expect to study 50- 100 genomes initially and would scale up as we go.’’, said Sharma to Financial Express Online. This will allow scientists to get a larger and clearer picture of the viral properties across the world. It will enable institutes in developing the virus ‘family tree.’
Dr Rakesh Mishra who is the director of CCMB said that the study of viral genome can provide a clear and bigger picture about the coronavirus such as its origin, strain similarities, mutations, weakness and infectivity of different strains. The study can also help in framing effective strategies for isolation, he added.
These institutes have also expanded the research potential besides this genome study. With more people doing tests and opting for mass screening, it would help them determine the number of positive cases and subsequently, send them to quarantine or isolation.