Genetic Analysis of the COVID-19 Virus and Other Pathogens: Part III

         April 21, 2020

*The following text is only a preview of our new eBook “Genetic Analysis of the COVID-19 Virus and Other Pathogens”. Request a free copy to access the full version.*

Next-Gen Sequencing (NGS) of the novel virus can make a tremendous contribution in enhancing our understanding of the underlying pathways in which it impacts humans. In a short period of time we have made significant progress. On January 24, the SARS-CoV-2 genome was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (see Zhu et al., 2020).

Through the Global Initiative to Share All Influenza Data (GISAID) and GenBank, researchers are sharing their understanding of the origin of the new virus, the epidemiology and transmission routes, and facilitate development of diagnostic and treatment strategies (see https://www.gisaid.org/). This website provides a wealth of information as well as latest news on this subject.

Understanding the genome of SARS-CoV-2 early enables us to understand the viral spread and impacted response strategies. Here are a few examples in this context.

Zhou et al. (2020) discusses the whole genome sequences from COVID-19 that were obtained from five patients at an early stage of the outbreak. The sequences are almost identical and share 79.6% sequence identity to SARS-CoV. Furthermore, they were able to show that 2019-nCoV is 96% identical at the whole genome level to a bat coronavirus. Pairwise protein sequence analysis of seven conserved non-structural proteins domains show that this virus belongs to the species of SARS-CoV. In addition, the COVID-19 virus isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a critically ill patient could be neutralized by sera from several patients. Notably, they confirmed that COVID-19 uses the same cell entry receptor-angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE2) as SARS-CoV. This study shows how future research studies can be designed…

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