- A group of local scientists have sequenced South Africa’s first SARS-COV-2 genome
- The crucial breakthrough was made by a team comprising of scientists from NCID and SANBI at the University of the Western Cape (UWC)
- The discovery will assist in the quest to find a cure
With the coronavirus declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, scientists from across the globe have been working on finding a vaccine.
A group of South African scientists have now played their part with an important contribution towards finding a potential cure.
The team has been working tirelessly at UWC and is made up of experts from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI).
The talented team has managed to successfully sequence South Africa’s first SARS-COV-2 genome.
A genome is the genetic material within an organism and this essentially provides scientists with a "fingerprint" in a crucial step towards finding a cure.
IOL reported that SANBI researcher Peter van Heusden touched on the significance of the discovery.
Van Heusden said, “Ideally, you want to be able to analyse virus DNA samples to better understand the spread of disease or predict when an outbreak will occur.”
Briefly.co.za learnt that suspicions were confirmed that the virus is mutating, but Van Heusden notes that this is inconsequential.
He added, “People sometimes panic when they hear that a virus is mutating, but that’s just natural – and most mutations just don’t matter much.”
The breakthrough has also shed more light on the spread of the virus and evidence suggests that the strain found here matches the ones found in Europe and the United States.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that informal street vendors lined up in Johannesburg on Monday in the hopes of obtaining temporary permits to allow them to continue trading.
The City said that only informal food traders registered on the city's database and the Joburg Fresh Produce Market database would be considered.
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