Researchers decode genome sequence of coronavirus samples from Chattogram, find five points of mutation | The Daily Star
11:04 PM, May 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:37 PM, May 21, 2020

Researchers decode genome sequence of coronavirus samples from Chattogram, find five points of mutation

Researchers in Chattogram have decoded the complete genome sequence of Covid-19 samples collected from the port city and different upazilas in the district.

They found the genome of the strain that spread in Chattogram to be similar to the genome of the strains which spread in Australia, Singapore, Russia and Middle East countries, reports our Chattogram correspondent.

They also found the virus in this region to have undergone mutation in five points, said sources.

Genome sequencing is the process of identifying what nucleotides -- the basic building block of DNA and RNA -- are present in a certain cell and in what order.

Earlier, a team from Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) led by Dr Senjuti Saha claimed to have successfully completed the genome sequencing of the Covid-19 virus in Bangladesh on May 12.

This time, researchers of Chattogram Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (CVASU), Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) and Bangladesh Jute Research Institute (BJRI) have jointly sequenced the complete genome of Covid-19 samples from Chattogram district.

Contacted, Dr Zunaed Siddiki, a professor of Pathology at CVASU and a researcher of the joint team, said they have collected samples from Covid-19 patients both from Chattogram city and from different upazilas in Chattogram for genome sequencing.

"Genome of a total of seven samples have been sequenced," he told The Daily Star, adding, "We have found the structure of the genome to be similar to that in Australia, Singapore, Russia and Middle East countries."

"Mutation has been observed in five points in the thirty thousand base pair of the genome, which means the virus have been mutated in this region at least five times," Dr Zunaed added.

Prof Dr Shakeel Ahmed, in-charge of BITID laboratory and a researcher of the joint team, told The Daily Star that they primarily selected 25 samples for genome sequencing and finally selected seven from those.

"This is for the first time that genome sequencing has been done for samples of the virus from Chattogram region," he said.

"Genome sequence is important to know the character of a virus, its nature, mode of destruction," he also said, adding that "by knowing the type of mutation, the researchers also get an indication of how the virus is changing itself in changing environment."

"It will also help in introducing vaccine against the virus," Dr Shakeel said, adding, "If we know, through genome  sequencing, that the structure of the virus spread in our country is similar  to that of another country, we can say that the vaccine introduced in that country against the virus would be effective against the one in our country."  

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