Gdańsk scientist makes crucial headway in understanding killer virus by isolating COVID-19 DNA from infected patient
The full DNA sequence of the coronavirus virus has been taken from an infected patient after being isolated by scientists at Gdańsk University.
By unravelling the genetic sequence, the researchers can learn a variety of crucial information about the disease, such as how the virus ‘deceives’ the human body, weakening its immune system.
Other clues include COVID-19’s evolutionary and geographic origins, how it found itself in Poland and how it has changed since the outbreak in China.
Team leader Dr. Łukasz Rąbalski at the Gdańsk University and Medical Academy’s joint Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology said: “Genetic material must meet many qualitative and quantitative standards in order to be decoded.
“In the case of viruses whose genetic material is single-stranded RNA, methods are used to multiply the amount of genetic material.
“Normally, this has been done by replicating viral particles in laboratories. Nowadays, thanks to achievements in the field of molecular biology, a shorter pathway can be used without the need for virus culture.”
The equipment used to decode coronavirus was previously used during the Ebola epidemic.
Dr. Rąbalski used the latest generation of sequencers from Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which have bioinformatic protocols that limit the risk of result’s distortion.
The GISAID database is the biggest resource of DNA sequences worldwide – scientists have already uploaded over 5,000 of them and now the collection includes one from a Polish patient.
The University Clinical Centre in Gdańsk’s Hematology Laboratory is currently carrying out further sequencing of viruses from Polish patients.
The next package of data will be sent to GISAID within the next few days.
The research has been published in the international GISAID database so that it can be widely used for research on vaccines and medicine for the coronavirus.