Indian researchers work on novel coronavirus genome sequencing

Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Hyderabad and Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology, New Delhi working together

By Jyoti Singh
Published: Tuesday 07 April 2020

The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi have started working together on whole genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). 

It is a method to determine the complete DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) sequence of a specific organism’s genome. Large samples are needed.

“This will help us understand the virus’ evolution, how dynamic it is and how fast it mutates. It will also help us know future aspects,” CCMB Director Rakesh Mishra told India Science Wire.

He warned against drawing conclusions without ample data: “At the moment we are accumulating as many sequencings as we can; once we have a few hundred, we will be able to draw inferences from many biological aspects of the virus.”

The study involves three- four researchers from each institutions. They expect to to get at least 200-300 isolates in three-four weeks.

The National Institute of Virology, Pune has been requested for samples isolated from different places to help institutes establish the virus family tree. This can aid in understanding aspects like the path of the virus, similarity between strains and their strengths and weaknesses, varied mutations.

“This will give some strategic clues to understand and implement better isolation strategies,” Mishra said. 

CCMB has also increased the capacity to test suspected cases. (India Science Wire)

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