Scientists at Shahjalal University of Science & Technology (SUST) have sequenced the genome of the Novel Coronavirus found in 2 districts of Sylhet division, Vice Chancellor Farid Uddin Ahmed disclosed at a press briefing Tuesday.
As part of a research project, COVID-19 samples were collected from different areas of 4 districts in Sylhet, to sequence their genome and study how the virus is mutating in the region, besides its spread, origins and variants. From them 10 genome sequences of the area were submitted to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Database (GISAID), which published them on 31st December, 2020.According to the analysis, similarities with Italy, UK, USA, Finland, Germany, Russia, and a previously found strain in Bangladesh was detected in the Sylhet samples. Any UK mutant (P681H) was not found but a variant (P681R) with a different mutation in the same position was found. Another completely new mutation (Genome: 27862: Del: ATCAT ) was found in the genome of 2 viruses.
"As the Coronavirus spread was increasing, SUST’s Genetic & Biotechnology Department of Life Sciences faculty established the self-financed specialized COVID-19 detection lab where a team of researchers voluntarily started detecting the disease. Along with that, the team started researching the virus, financed by SUST research center," it was announced at the press briefing.
In addition, the specialized lab was founded last May spending Tk 1,10,00,000 from SUST's own fund to fight the Coronavirus spread. Currently a team of 25 members work in the lab everyday led by Professor Shamsul Haque Prodhan, head of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology dept. of the varsity.