Given the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the global quest for doing more sequencing of the virus before it spreads, Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) has completed genome sequencing of 263 Covid-19 samples at its laboratory.
The doing of such public health concern task will pave the way for coronavirus vaccine development with underscoring the urgency of completing more genome sequencing to contribute to research both locally and globally, experts believe.
"We have collected samples from 300 coronavirus positive patients across the country… Of them, we have decoded genome sequences of 263," BCSIR Chairman Prof Dr Md Aftab Ali Sheikh told a dissemination meeting on "Releasing report on genome sequence" in the conference room of the organization today.
Science and Technology Minister Architect Yeafesh Osman also addressed the meeting that drew a host of researchers, scientists and officials.
Yeafesh said genome sequencing of Covid-19 is an important task for an effective vaccine development as it provides nature of the virus, which eventually will help scientists to produce inoculate within a shortest possible times.
Referring to the fricative efforts of scientists from almost all countries of the world, he said Bangladesh has already made significant contribution to the vaccine development race by completing these large number of genome sequences of the deadly virus.
The minister urged scientists and researchers to intensify their efforts with dedicated mindset to produce fruitful outputs to fight the killer disease.
Aftab said the BCSIR has collected samples from 300 Covid-19 patients from May 7 to July 31 this year and successfully completed 263 genome sequences within a short time.
"We have already provided information of 263 genome sequence to 50 organizations in the world, which are in advanced stage of Covid-19 vaccine development," he said.
These fifty organizations and institutions including Chinese company Sinovac Research and Development Limited, USA based biotech company Moderna and the University of Oxford in the UK are analyzing genome sequence to develop an effective vaccine of the deadly virus, the BCSIR Chairman added.
Bangladesh is proud of decoding a good number of genome sequencing, he said adding BCSIR lab is one of five largest labs in the world in terms of the highest number of coronavirus genome sequencing and the second largest one in South Asia.
According to the researchers and scientists, genome sequence assists in designing effective drugs, therapies and vaccine that target specific sequences of genomes or genes of the virus. It will help us to develop a vaccine targeting population living in different areas in the world.
Genome sequences or whole genomes sequence (WGS) is important because it provides the complete manual of the virus – how it operates, infects others and transmits in population rapidly, they added. knowing the operating manual of the contagion can potentially help the management of the disease.
Over 70,000 genome sequencing has been completed, as reported by the International Gene Bank. Bangladesh has so far done nearly 300 genome sequencing.