Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2

As the treatment for the COVID-19 is nearly a year away, scientists are hastening to study the genetic information of the virus.

Whole Genome Sequencing

The virus (SARS CoV-19) is being subject to genetic studies across the world. A process called whole genome sequencing is being used to understand the pathogen. In this process, the entire DNA sequence of the genome is determined at a single time. The sequence determines the organism’s characteristics and is a unique code of genetic material.

Need for Multiple Sequencing

India has contributed 2 sequences while other countries have reported even more: China (120), USA (43), UK (25), etc. There is a need for multiple sequencing because of the possibility of mutations. When viruses reproduce, the copying mechanism (of the genetic material) is imperfect and the small changes (mutations) accumulate over time to create a new organism.

National Institute of Virology

The National Institute of Virology is located in Pune and is part of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). It was established in 1952 under the ICMR in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation. It is a WHO Collaborating Centre for arboviruses and haemorrhagic fever reference and the National Monitoring Centre for influenza, measles, coronavirus, etc.

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