- Scientists at the University of Ghana Legon have made an important discovery about the novel coronavirus
- The scientists have successfully sequenced genomes of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic
- They have also successfully obtained important information about the genetic composition of viral strains in 15 of the confirmed cases in Ghana.
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Scientists at the University of Ghana have successfully sequenced genomes of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic.
In the process, they also obtained important information about the genetic composition of viral strains in 15 of the confirmed cases in Ghana.
This is a significant breakthrough in Ghana’s response to the pandemic, as it will strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the virus.
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In a statement issued by the university and sighted by YEN.com.gh, the scientists, who work at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens at the university are said to have analyzed samples from some selected cases to gain a comprehensive understanding of the variations of the virus that are present in Ghana.
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Genome sequencing allows for the compilation of the most comprehensive information about an organism’s genetic makeup.
"Using advanced next-generation sequencing methods, scientists are able to track and compare viral mutations to understand the origins of imported strains and to discover if any novel strains are emerging locally," the statement said.
“The successful establishment of this sequencing capability at University of Ghana is a significant milestone in Ghana’s response to the pandemic, as it will strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the virus and aid in the tracing of the sources of community infections in people with no known contact with confirmed cases,” said Prof. Abraham Anang, Director of NMIMR.
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The scientists analyzed samples from confirmed cases who arrived in the country from UK, Norway, Hungary, US and from cases who acquired the infection locally.
“The data tells us that, while there were some differences between the strains from the various countries, all the 15 genomes generally resembled (with >92% similarity) the reference strain that was isolated in the Wuhan Province of China, where the outbreak began,” said Prof. Gordon Awandare said.
“This confirms that we are dealing with the same pathogen, and that it has not yet changed its genetic make-up significantly. It is natural that pathogens will evolve as they encounter different environmental challenges, so we will need to continue monitoring to keep track with these changes and determine how they impact on the efficacy of potential drugs or vaccines that are being developed”, he added
The University has shared the information from the sequence data with scientists around the world through an open-access platform known as the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) database, where other sequences from various countries are stored.
YEN.com.gh earlier reported that award-winning rapper Sarkodie had stated that he will pay any amount of money to get his fellow rapper Pappy Kojo back home to Ghana.
Pappy Kojo who is currently in Italy has been trying to find ways of leaving the country that has recorded extremely high cases of the deadly coronavirus.
But in a Twitter post sighted by YEN.com.gh, Sarkodie said though he is also locked up, he will give anything to get Pappy Kojo back home because he is not well.
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