DU study: COVID-19 reduced its disease-causing ability...

DU study: COVID-19 reduced its disease-causing ability

 DU Correspondent daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 05:34 PM, 24 April 2020  

AAC has changed from GGG to 28881-28883 in the virus genome

AAC has changed from GGG to 28881-28883 in the virus genome

A new study on COVID-19 has been conducted recently where it was found that the SARS-COV-2 virus, responsible for a global pandemic, has already undergone some changes, as a result, its disease-causing ability has changed dramatically.

This came up in a study conducted by Dr. Mushtaq Ibn Ayub, assistant professor of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of the University of Dhaka (DU).

Studies have shown that the genome of the virus has mutated into three structural elements in a row. As a result, its transmission capacity has reduced. The countries where these mutations are more prevalent, fewer people are infected there. 

However, the researcher claims that “it is still yet unknown” what kind of infection the virus has caused in Bangladesh.

The number of COVID-19 patients is much high in European countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy. On the other hand, the affected number is less in Portugal, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium – due to the genome mutation of the virus, according to Dr. Mushtaq.

“The blueprint for determining the characteristics of SARS-COV-2 is its genetic material RNA. In the meantime, hundreds of changes have taken place in this RNA through mutations,” said Dr. Mushtaq Ibn Ayub.  

“But there is only one area within these changes where the genetic material of the virus has changed in three consecutive locations. Those three changes damage a component of the virus that is needed to increase its numbers.” 

“This is a very important aspect,” he also said, adding: “That element is known as Nucleocapsid Protein which is important for creating many viruses from one virus and invading new cells.” 

“I’m categorizing based on three consecutive changes,” said Dr. Mushtaq Ibn Ayub. “Such events occur only in those three consecutive locations within the 30,000 base pairs of the virus genome. And in all cases, the position is usually changed one by one.” 

“So, my classification is giving a stable foundation. Which will make it easier to determine their characteristics and analyze the results by following other changes in the virus,” he also said. 

Explaining about the mutation is not only the reason for virus infections but also one of the main reasons for the big difference in the number of deaths by the coronavirus in various countries, Dr. Mushtaq blamed the mutations found in his research behind the outbreak in different states of the United States or different parts of the United Kingdom.  

He said his research highlighted the importance of knowing the genetic information of the SARS-COV-2 virus in Bangladesh. “It is now very important to know what types of infection has occurred and its caliber in Bangladesh. This will make the nature of the speed of this infection more certain. The government has to take steps in this regard,” he said. 

He added that various countries in Africa have unveiled the genome information of hundreds of viruses. But not one from Bangladesh. The work needs to be done immediately.  

“The genome information of thousands of viruses in different countries of the world is available in the public database. Using this information, many important things can be done from youths,” Dr. Mushtaq also said. 

Dr. Mushtaq Ibn Ayub’s research paper has been submitted for publication in a science journal and its draft is available at www.preprints.org/manuscript