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Evidence-based policies vital for curbing corona spread: Study

Evidence-based policies vital for curbing corona spread: Study
  • Staff Correspondent
  • 15 September, 2021 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Evidence-based national policies are essential to curb the spread of coronavirus in the country, according to the recommendations of a study.

The study titled “Genomics, social media, and mobile phone data enable mapping of SARS-CoV-2 lineages to inform health policy in Bangladesh” has been published in Nature Microbiology, a scientific journal, recently.

The study was a genomic epidemiology consortium comprised of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Bangladesh; icddr,b (formerly International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh) and Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives (ideSHi) in collaboration with local and international institutions.

Experts engaged in the study have analysed genome sequencing data of 391 SARS-CoV-2 samples collected from Bangladesh between March-July 2020 and conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the evolutionary relationship between SARS-CoV-2 lineages that emerged at different times and locations in Bangladesh during the first wave in Bangladesh.

Additionally, anonymized population mobility data collected from Facebook and three mobile operators were integrated with the genomic data to investigate the spatial spread of the virus in Bangladesh.

Of the 391 samples analysed from the first wave, complete genomes of 67 samples were sequenced by the consortium between March – July 2020, and the rest were collected from GISAID, which other institutions sequenced. The analysis revealed that of the 391 sequences, 85 per cent of isolates fell into three dominant lineages, namely lineages B.1.1, B.1.1.25, and B.1.36. Lineage B.1.1 accounted for 19 per cent of sequences, while B.1.1.25 accounted for 58 per cent of sequences. Lineage B.1.36 accounted for 8 per cent of the sequences and was predominant in southern Bangladesh with 64 per cent of isolates found in the Chattogram division.

However, the population mobility data collected from Facebook and three mobile phone operators showed an important link between population movement and the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Later on, the consortium sequenced another 85 SARS-CoV-2 specimens in April 2021 collected between November 2020 and April 2021.