Researchers from USP Ester Sabino and Jaqueline Goes de Jesus led a study done in record time that helps to understand the origin of the epidemic
Cláudia Magazine and Agência Fapesp- While the average in other countries has been 15 days, Brazilian researchers have sequenced the coronavirus genome just two days after confirmation of the first case of the disease in Brazil. The results were produced by teams from the Adolfo Lutz Institute, which confirmed the diagnosis of a patient on Wednesday (26), and by the universities of São Paulo (USP) and Oxford, in England.
The genome corresponds to all the hereditary information of the virus that is encoded in its DNA. “By sequencing it, we get closer to knowing the origin of the epidemic. We know that the only confirmed case in Brazil came from Italy, however, Italians still do not know the origin of the outbreak, as they have not yet sequenced their samples. They have no idea who the zero patient is and do not know whether he came directly from China or passed through another country before, “he told Fapesp Agency Ester Sabino, director of USP’s Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMT).
Ester coordinates the Joint Brazil-United Kingdom Center for Arbovirus Discovery, Diagnosis, Genomics and Epidemiology (Cadde), which studies arbovirus epidemics in real time, such as dengue and Zika. According to her, the objective of the work is to produce responses that help health services in diagnostic tests and in the development of vaccines.
Since the first cases in Italy, Ester Sabino’s team has trained researchers to use a sequencing technology known as MinION, which is already used to monitor the evolution of the Zika virus in the Americas.
Thus, the sequencing of the coronavirus genome was conducted by researchers coordinated by Jaqueline Goes de Jesus, post-doctoral student at the Medical School of USP and a fellow at the funding agency Fapesp. She develops research on the mapping of Zika in Brazil. Beside her was Claudio Tavares Sacchi, from the Adolfo Lutz Institute.