UAE Announces Full Genome Sequencing Of COVID-19

The UAE on Wednesday announced the country’s first full genome sequencing of COVID-19, an important tool to trace the origin of the deadly infection. The COVID-19 Command and Control Centre (CCC), which has been established to enhance the country’s efforts to tackle COVID-19, in the finding reveals the genome of the virus causing COVID-19 (known as SARS-CoV-2) consists of 30,000 genetic bases or letters.

Many countries have started reporting genomic sequences of the virus from patient samples. “As a virus spreads and continues to reproduce, small changes in its genetic material take place,” it said. The successful sequencing of the virus from a patient in Dubai was performed by researchers at the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU).

“Scientific research is a critical resource to inform the Center’s strategies and actions against this virus. We are fortunate to have academic institutions that can join other sectors in Dubai in the fight against COVID-19,” said Amer Sharif, the Vice Chancellor of MBRU and head of Dubai’s COVID-19 Command and Control Center.

The novel coronavirus, which originated from Wuhan City of central China’s Hubei province in November last year, has so far killed at least 1,19,000 people globally, including more than 25,000 in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the UAE, the infection has claimed the lives of 25 people and left over 4,000 affected, the Khaleej Times reported. Recent studies on the virus causing COVID-19 show that these genetic changes, known as mutations, occur every two weeks on average.

By studying the genetic sequence of the virus and the minor changes over time from many patients, scientists can get a better understanding of how the virus spreads which can also inform measures to control the outbreak. .

The finding would help in tracing the origin of the deadly COVID-19. “This is a specific example of how this information can help trace the origin of infection in this specific patient from the UAE, and can tell us a lot about viral transmission in the country . Moreover, given Dubai’s role and geographic position as a bridge between the East and the West, this information will also help in understanding how the pandemic has been spreading globally,”Ahmad Abou Tayoun, an associate professor of genetics at MBRU, said. PTI CORR RUP 04151839 NNNN

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