Ricardo Jorge Institute identifies 150 coronavirus mutations

in News · 06-05-2020 17:43:00 · 0 Comments

The National Health Institute Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) found 150 mutations of the new coronavirus from Wuhan, China, to Portugal, after having started sequencing the genome, the institution's president announced on 6 March.

Until the end of the week, INSA plans to sequence 450 samples of the new coronavirus in Portugal, and so far, "150 mutations of the coronavirus" have been found, "said the president of the Instituto Ricardo Jorge, Fernando Almeida, during the conference of daily press to update information about the pandemic in Portugal.

"From Wuhan [in China] to Portugal, the genome has already been changed 150 times," added the official.

The study, which is nationwide, is being led by INSA, with the participation of the Gulbenkian Institute of Science and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health.

According to Fernando Almeida, the sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genome makes it possible to identify "the fingerprint of this coronavirus" and understand whether the virus that left Wuhan "is the same or has other lines or not".

"This genome also makes it possible to clearly and unambiguously identify, in a given patient who was infected with coronavirus, his entire transmission line and where that transmission line came from", stressed the official, stressing that this tool "is very important" in view of the phase of deflation that the country has entered.

With this work, the researchers will also be able to see if "there are more severe and more aggressive strains" and that could be a reason for greater attention in the treatment, he explained.

"It is time to go in search of what the coronavirus can give us in terms of response", underlined Fernando Almeida.

During the press conference, the Secretary of State for Health, António Lacerda Sales, explained that this study, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), intends to sequence 1,000 coronavirus genomes.

Genome sequencing will allow "to identify transmission chains, the scale and chronology of transmission, the points of entry into Portugal" and, with that information, "to assess the impact of containment measures" and "to guide measures to be implemented in case of a new outbreak," he said.


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