MYSURU: Mysuru-based CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute has partnered with a private firm to carry out sequencing studies on the genome of SARS-CoV-2, which has claimed thousands of lives the world over.Sequencing the virus’ genome will help track its mutations and its growth in the region, aiding ongoing research into a potential vaccine and help assess the efficacy of a particular vaccine against Covid-19.
The collaboration between CFTRI and Bengaluru-based genomics studies institution Clevergene is part of a nationwide genome sequencing effort that involves multiple institutions drawing samples of the novel coronavirus from their respective regions, and CFTRI will pitch in with samples from the Mysuru region.
Commenting on the matter, Dr P V Ravindra, in charge coordinator, CFTRI COVID testing laboratory, said that with the study they will be able to identify whether there are any unknown mutations in the virus.
He added that in Europe, the second wave has struck due to mutations in the virus and with the study they will be able to find out whether any such mutations are found in the novel coronavirus samples from the region.
“It will be a collaborative effort with the firm. We will focus on virus samples from Mysuru region and our efforts will be to find out whether there are any differences in the virus that is infecting people in the region and also find the source and trajectory of the virus,” said Dr Prakash M Halami, chief scientist and nodal officer at CFTRI.
He said that the results of the study would be used to find mutations and learn other characteristic of the virus from the region. It would also be used in the development of vaccine candidates as well as develop products that could help mitigate the effects of the virus.A genomics expert with a centrally funded lab, said requesting anonymity, that the study was much-need, and that more such research from across the country would help understand the mutations SARS-CoV-2 has undergone, where the changes are headed, and how lethal the virus is.
He said that if the research is coupled with a study on the antibody response, it would help gauge the efficiency of vaccine candidates. The research would also perhaps help understand why the spread of the virus declined around mid-October despite a festival season when people gathered in varying numbers sans precautions, the expert said.