Genetic variability of SARS-CoV2 virus. Research co-authored by researchers from the University of Gdańsk

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A research paper ‘Geographical and temporal distribution of SARS-CoV-2 clades in the WHO European Region, January to June 2020’ analyzing the genetic variability of the SARS-CoV2 virus during the 6 months of the pandemic in Europe was published in the international journal Eurosurveilance on infectious disease surveillance, epidemiology and control in Europe. Researchers from the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and the Medical University of Gdańsk co-authored the article.

It presents the geographic and temporal trends in the distribution of SARS-CoV-2 genetic clades in the first half of 2020. As part of the published research, the authors collected and compared SARS CoV2 genomic sequences from samples from 35 countries and unified the nomenclature and criteria for categorising groups based on common origin.

Genetic and statistical analyzes indicate that point mutations and the frequency of mutation occurrence vary between geographic regions. The authors emphasise the significance of the rapid sequencing of genetic material in understanding how the virus spreads and, prospectively, analyzing vaccine effects.  

Doctor Łukasz Rąbalski from the Department of Recombinant Vaccines of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and the Medical University of Gdańsk presented 25 genomic sequences of the SARS CoV2 virus from samples collected from patients from Pomerania and the Silesian region. What is noteworthy, on detecting Covid-19 outbreaks in Silesia, the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate sent the first samples to Gdańsk for sequencing.

The paper is co-authored by the representatives of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and a multinational group of authors who are members of the WHO European Region Sequencing Laboratories and GISAID EpiCoV group. This group also includes Doctor Łukasz Rąbalski from the Department of Recombinant Vaccines of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology and Professor Krystyna-Bienkowska-Szewczyk from the Department of Molecular Biology of Viruses. 

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Press Office of University of Gdańsk