A detailed study of the coronavirus in 48 samples will soon begin at the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. This aims to show the exact genetic characteristics, how they relate to the course of the disease and its outcome.
This information is important because “somehow we have to explain the few sick and the few who died in our country,” said the center’s director, Prof. Todor Kantardzhiev, during a briefing. He added that “the strain that was in China has already mutated and is quite different from what is manifested in Europe. A third genetic model is in the United States. The different course of the disease and the different possibility of infection are very important and interesting: they draw conclusions about measures within countries “.
What is cellogenomic RNA sequencing
The detailed study, which will soon begin at the National Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD), will be on 48 strains, ie 48 samples of coronavirus infected. The samples are different in: territory, age of the patients, as well as the way of passing the disease and the moment of infection.
The test itself is called cellogenomic sequencing of ribonucleic acid (RNA). “This is the whole RNA molecule that carries all the coronavirus genes. And this is a huge gene library. It will be ‘cut’ into its 30,000 nucleotide components, and each one will be identified exactly as it is,” he explains. Prof. Iva Hristova from NCIPD. She says that the purpose of “this exercise” is to compare the information from the study with data from the World Genetic Bank, “in which authors from other parts of the world have published their strains and thus show the deviation, ie how much there are differences and mutations have occurred over time. ” Prof. Hristova adds that it is important for Bulgaria to know “how many different places we import the virus”.
Different sample, different strain
Viral samples from each person are conducted in a different strain because they are from different people. “Everything is a coronavirus, but it can be a different genetic species,” said Prof. Iva Hristova, explaining that SARS-COV-2 is relatively stable, although viruses are generally variable and have “mutational activity.”
The coronavirus mutation, the expert explains, does not depend on people in different parts of the world, because “people are the same everywhere.” Crucial to the mutation is the exchange of infection between them: “All living organisms. The very replication of the virus replicates the genetic material and there is always a ‘mistake’. And this is normal, and there are mutations in the human body. But humans have systems that are “alert” to such mutations in order to eliminate them as quickly as possible. If our systems do not work, then, for example, a cancerous formation is formed, “explains Prof. Hristova.
“It may turn out that a certain species mainly causes severe disease. But here is a theory of probabilities, nothing is 100%,” explains Prof. Iva Hristova about the expected conclusions from the detailed study of RNA of the coronavirus in Bulgaria.
Ultimately, such conclusions are needed for a future vaccine for COVID-19. “That’s why there was talk of a vaccine in general: diaries of cellogenomic sequencing began to be published first by the Chinese,” said the expert.
The research in Bulgaria will start in a month, and the scientists will have the first preliminary data at the end of the summer. Final results are expected by the end of 2020.
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