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SNUH, Macrogen release study on whole-genome sequencing of new coronavirus
  • By Shim Hyun-tai
  • Published 2020.02.19 16:33
  • Updated 2020.02.20 15:26
  • comments 0

Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) and Macrogen, a biotechnology company, released on Wednesday the result of whole-genome sequencing of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by using next-generation sequencing (NGS). It is the first such research paper in Korea.

The joint research team obtained a respiratory sample of the first confirmed patient, a Chinese woman who entered Korea from Wuhan, China, and inoculated it on cells, succeeding in the pure culture of the virus. The researchers then checked the proliferated virus using a transmission electron microscope and confirmed the novel coronavirus particles taking round shapes with pointed tips like a crown. They conducted a whole-genome sequencing using next-generation sequencing later.

The image of the first confirmed patient’s new coronavirus seen through a transmission electron microscope

The researchers found the virus isolated from the first confirmed patient was 99.7 percent identical to the nucleic acid sequence of isolated virus in China, and also underwent nine genetic mutations. However, they said, in-depth studies are needed to discover the significant effects of those mutations have. The isolated virus was named "BetaCoV / Korea / SNU01 / 2020".

The team plans to focus on securing the samples of other confirmed patients in Korea to continue researches.

"The nine confirmed mutations indicate that we need to keep researching individual genetic analysis of confirmed patients, and we will cooperate with SNUH in follow-up studies," Macrogen said.

Professor Oh Myoung-don of Infectious Diseases Department at SNUH also said, "We could conduct whole-genome sequencing with NGS technique to reveal the characteristics of the separated virus in a short time, and NGS will be helpful in the future as well."

Professor Oh works as the director of COVID-19 Central Clinical Consultant Task Force. He also served as an advisor to the government whenever a new virus broke out in Korea. Professor Oh's team released the first COVID-19 research on Feb. 4, which showed the progress of the treatment of the first confirmed patient.

The SNUH published its study in the Korea Academy of Medical Sciences on Wednesday, with the title of "Virus Isolation From the First Patient with SARS-Cov-2 in Korea."

Genetic strains of isolated new coronavirus, named by the joint research team as “BetaCoV/Korea/SNU01/2020,” written in red ink. (Source: SNUH and Macrogen)

shim531@docdocdoc.co.kr

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