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India shares SARS-CoV-2 genome

India shares SARS-CoV-2 genome

Why in news? 

  • India has finally shared two whole genome sequence data of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) with the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID).

 Background

  • The two sequences were shared by the Pune-based National Institute of Virology.
  • This news comes after report that India has not shared any genome sequence data with the GISAID.

 About Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID)

  • GISAID is recognised as an effective and trusted mechanism for rapid sharing of both published and ‘unpublished’ influenza data.
  • It Provides a collection of influenza sequences containing associated metadata, both clinical and epidemiological. GISAID EpiFlu database is a resource that stores information about Influenza virus.
  • Initially spurred by the global threat posed by human infections with highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1, GISAID introduced its novel sharing mechanism in 2008 that permits free and open access to influenza data, to anyone who positively identifies himself or herself, and agrees to respect the inherent rights of contributors.
  • The Initiative has earned widespread international support around the goal of better understanding the spread and evolution of the influenza virus, its transmissibility and pathogenicity.
  • With this goal in mind, the Initiative determined that scientists from different fields of expertise needed full access to comprehensive genetic sequencing, clinical and epidemiological data, as well as analysis from both human and animal isolates in order to better understand the virus and its potential mutation to a pandemic pathogen.
  • The Initiative aims to provide developing countries with better access to scientific research and the development of potential pandemic flu vaccines to lessen its dependence on foreign aid. It is already hailed as a model for future initiatives.            India shares SARS-CoV-2 genome
  • A unique collaboration ensued, involving, in addition to members of WHO’s GISRS and OIE/FAO reference laboratories, the wider influenza research community along with officials in governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations.

 Details

  • The whole genome sequences of two oronasopharynx (mouth, nose, throat) samples collected on January 27 and 31 from two COVID-19 patients in Kerala were deposited in GenBank.
  • GISAID said it had updated the database with two SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Kerala and these sequences do not link very closely to other sequences in the tree.
  • At this point, it is not clear why the sequences appear to differ from the rest in the phylogenetic tree. It could have been possibly due to sequencing errors.
  • Sequencing the genome of novel coronavirus will help us to know where the virus came from and how the virus has spread.
  • So far, 26 countries, including India, have shared 178 SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences with the GISAID. At 70, China has shared the highest number of sequences.
  • The other countries that have shared higher number of sequences are the U.S. (22), Australia and Japan (10 each), and Singapore and South Korea (eight each). Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia have also shared one sequence each.                        India shares SARS-CoV-2 genome

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