Bangladesh sequences coronavirus genome for the first time
A Bangladeshi father-daughter doctor duo has successfully sequenced the genome of coronavirus which could potentially help develop a vaccine for own population.
A team of eight Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) researchers, led by Dr Senjuti Saha, worked on mapping the genome sequence.
Dr Samir Kumar Saha and Senjuti Saha jointly informed the media about their feat. CHRF also announced the breakthrough in a press release.
Prof Dr Sharif Akhteruzzaman of the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of Dhaka University wrote that genome sequencing has now become a powerful tool for tracking diseases – called “Genomic prediction”.
“Whole genome sequencing will help researchers identify genetic changes that occur in a virus when it spreads through the population,” he wrote.
Dr Akhteruzzaman said changes in the genetic sequence of the viral genomes collected from several patients will allow the monitoring of the spread of the disease within the country and between populations over time.
The most important information from the viral genome sequence at this moment will be identification of particular viral strains that are prevalent in our country, identify infection hotspots or super-spreaders and formulate strategies for public health intervention, he wrote. “This will also help develop a vaccine targeting our own population.”
Bangladesh has been grappling with coronavirus outbreak. The government shut down educational institutions and closed all non-essential services and transports as it declared a general holiday.
But as things went downhill, the holidays were extended until May 16. The situation has hardly improved.
Bangladesh has confirmed 16,660 cases and 250 deaths as of Tuesday.