As the SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) hits, the global scientific community is working together to confront it. From pathogen research and genome sequencing to drug testing and vaccine development, scientific researches are trying to accelerate the cure. This is a “race” against the virus.
In this “war epidemic,” the first thing to do is to identify the “enemy.” Chinese researchers quickly isolated the new type of coronavirus from patients, and conducted whole genome sequencing, and shared the results with the World Health Organization as soon as possible.
“The speed of China in monitoring outbreaks, isolating viruses, sequencing the genome and sharing it with WHO and the world is very impressive,” said WHO Director-General Tan Desai at a news conference on January 30.
Follow-up analysis is undergoing by multinational researchers. Australia’s Peter Doherty Institute of Infection and Immunology announced at the end of January that the institute succeeded in obtaining new coronavirus samples from patients following a Chinese research institution. Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza said on the 2nd that the Italian National Institute of Infectious Diseases has successfully isolated a new coronavirus, which means that there are more opportunities to study it.
Vincent Enouf, an expert from the Pasteur Institute in France, said recently that there have been more than 20 novel coronavirus genome sequencing results worldwide, and the comparison shows that the virus has not changed much.
On January 24, the first SARS-CoV-2 genome was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. 2 To our knowledge, this is the first time a complete genome of a novel infectious agent has been publicly available in such a short time after the first case was reported to the WHO.
As of February 7, over 80 SARS-CoV-2 genomes have been shared through the Global Initiative to Share All Influenza Data (GISAID) and GenBank, which will catalyze the research to understanding of the origin of the new virus, the epidemiology and transmission routes, and facilitate development of diagnostic and treatment strategies. 3 Understanding the genome of SARS-CoV-2 early, provided unprecedented insight into dynamics of viral spread and impacted response strategies.
The Role of Sequencing in Viral Outbreaks
Virus sequencing helps remove the fear of the unknown by defining the viral genomic sequence for dissection and interpretation. While the sequencing results have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO), there remains much to learn, modern technology has identified and characterized the virus, sequenced its full genome, and started to describe the genetic evolution of the virus over a short time period.
The global scientific community is working to find effective treatments.
About the severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by coronavirus-SARS-CoV-2
The outbreak of 2019-nCoV is an important reminder that the whole world should strengthen national and international programs for early detection and response to future disease outbreaks.
About CD Genomics
CD Genomics platform holds great potential for viral genome sequencing. Comprehensive virus sequences will facilitate interpretation of viral metagenomics data by providing reference genomes, lead to a better understanding of virus diversity, ecology, adaptation and evolution, and enable the prediction of emerging infectious diseases caused by viruses. CD genomics can deliver high quality sequencing data for virus genome of interest.