A team of scientists from Canada has succeeded isolating a strain of the COVID-19 and they’ve grown lab samples to help the study of the pathogen responsible for the deadly pandemic.
The researchers are from the McMaster University, Sunnybrook Research Institute, and the University of Toronto, all of which are in Canada.
They isolated the virus from two specimens and then grew it in a safe containment.
This means that they’ve successfully acquired a pure sample of the virus that they’ve contained outside of the human body and are able to study it further.
This Isolated Specimen Will Help Improve Diagnosis, Treatments & Vaccines
According to the team, the lab-grown specimen is crucial as it will help them and other scientists from the world to better the diagnosis, treatment, and vaccines for the coronavirus.
But, this isn’t the first time the virus has been isolated- Chinese scientists already did it and so did research teams from Italy and Australia.
They isolated and grew samples of the virus in their labs.
But, as the virus is mutating and evolving, there are now a couple of strains of it, collectively known as Sars-CoV-2.
COVID-19 is a name given to the clinical disease which these viruses cause.
What Does It Mean when a Virus Mutates?
When a virus infects someone and then it replicates in their respiratory tract, it mutates with around half a dozen mutations happening.
In this current pandemic, the mutations have triggered two main strains of the virus.
The one which is linked with the Wuhan outbreak is stronger and more prevalent. The second one is less prevalent and less harmful to the host, according to available research.
Each of the isolations of the virus that scientists make allows them to find out how quickly it mutates and what the effects of its mutations can be.
According to Dr. Samira Mubareka, an infectious diseases physician and microbiologist from Sunnybrook, they need the major tools to develop solutions for the pandemic.
Even though an immediate response is pivotal, long-term solutions from research into this new virus are also essential.
The colleague of Mubareka, Dr. Rob Kozak who’s a clinical microbiologist at the same institute notes that the researchers from all these renowned institutions worked together and managed to isolate the virus in only several weeks.
It also shows the amazing impact of collaboration.