Monday, July 20th, 2020

‘D614G’ variant behind 94% COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh

Published 12:05 am | July 20, 2020

dainik somoy sangbad

Online desk : Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) team has successfully identified the most virulent variant of coronavirus “D614G” which is the leading cause of infection about 94% of cases in Bangladesh.

The team also found another 25 variants of coronaviruses circulating across Bangladesh based on spike protein.

Bangladeshi scientists have sequenced 222 whole genomes of novel coronavirus cases until the moment of writing and published in both GISAID and GenBank. Among those, 171 has successfully sequenced by the BCSIR Team, being the frontrunner in the country, under the leadership of Dr Salim Khan.

Dr Salim Khan made the disclosure at a briefing on genome sequencing data of 300 COVID-19 cases held at BCSIR auditorium in Dhaka on Sunday.
Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman present as the chief guest at briefing with BCSIR chairman Muhammad Showkat Ali in the chair. Md Anwar Hossain, senior secretary of Ministry of Science and Technology, spoke as the special guest.

BCSIR team aspires to predict the protein structure and design a new vaccine based on the sequencing data of 300 COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh, said a press release of BCSIR. This vaccine would be the most suitable against the circulating COVID-19 virus in Bangladesh. The project is running smoothly and rapidly and once completed this blueprint will be shared with the current Vaccine Research groups around the world.

The global death rate due to the COVID-19 virus is 66 infected people per million whereas it is 11 in Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshis consume antibiotics routinely whenever they feel unwell, regardless of confirmed bacterial infection. Thus, even though they have a primary viral infection they can inadvertently protect themselves from a secondary bacterial infection that can explain why the death rate of Bangladeshi COVID-19 patients is comparatively low.

Analysis of the drug-resistance genes of COVID-19 patients may assist guidingbthe policy regarding antibiotic prophylaxis in these patients. The analysis of meta-transcriptome data obtained by the BCSIR team in concert with patient data may enable identification of biomarkers that can inform about disease progression, suggest treatment strategies and ultimately improving patient outcomes. Based on the observation, BCSIR team is in the process of publishing their research articles in leading public health journal.

If virus genome sequencing is undertaken rapidly and on a large-scale then it can assist epidemiologists and public health authorities in understanding how the virus is propagating. It can also assist in evaluating how effective their interventions are and help establish whether new variants are associated with particular patterns of symptoms or severity of the disease.

In this regard the BCSIR team is also assisting the other research organisations and pharmaceuticals in Bangladesh with the data. BCSIR already have MoUs with prestigious institutes like University and Melbourne, Australia and University of Nottingham, UK. The BCSIR is collaborating with the bioinformatics teams of both the institutions in a number of researches targeted on COVID-19 affect on Bangladeshi demographic.

As SARS-CoV-2 spread around the country, distinct variants began to form as viruses circulating in different regions. By comparing sequences, researchers can quickly rule out possible lines of transmission.BCSIR Team are sequencing coronavirus samples from each division to determine distinct variants for each region and preparing the usage of genomic data to help identify the probable origins of new cases.

Under laying vision 2021, the government of the people’s republic of Bangladesh had established a state-of-the-art genomic research laboratory in BCSIR back in 2018. It is the only organization in Bangladesh with the facilities to perform sequencing in large numbers and generate data rapidly. In May 2020, under the initiative of minister Yeafesh Osman, BCSIR has undertaken a project, encompassing the whole of Bangladesh, to collect and sequence 300 SARS-COV-2 samples.

The research team has carefully established a statistically driven comprehensive plan in broad sampling and collecting associated patient data from across the country in collaboration with NILMRC (National Institute of Laboratory Medicine & Referral Centre, Bangladesh).

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