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The low genetic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 may work well for vaccines

Hyderabad: In the gloom of the Covid-19 pandemic, which showed no signs of slowing down in the country, there is one silver lining that could bring considerable optimism among the general public, and also researchers involved in finding a breakthrough against Covid-19 disease.

It appears that the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causative agent of Covid-19, could very well have an Achilles heel that could possibly be utilized. Despite millions of people around the world testing positive for Covid-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has barely seen major genetic changes.

The lack of genetic biodiversity of SARS-CoV-2 virus is considered a positive sign by geneticists who believe that an extremely stable genome will make the vaccines more effective. An example of this is the recent genomic study of the Hyderabad-based Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and another nuclear study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States.

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The CCMB researchers analyzed more than 2000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes exclusively in India, while an international group of researchers, whose work was published in PNAS, analyzed 27,977 SARS-CoV-2 series from across 84 countries. . The aim was to study the genome and also to detect and characterize the evolution of the novel coronavirus since its inception.

The general indication from both studies was that the SARS-CoV-2 has a ‘slow genetic drive’ and is a very stable genome. The strikingly low genetic diversity of the virus makes it very suitable for a vaccine to be more effective.

“The agreement in viral genome worldwide should be considered as positive news, because a vaccine or a drug targeted at this mutation will work with the same effectiveness around the world,” said Dr. Rakesh K Mishra, Director, CCMB, co-author. of the CCMB study, said recently.

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The PNAS study stated that ‘the main conclusion reached by the authors of this work is that the genetic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 is remarkably low, almost entirely the product of genetic drift, and that no can be hindered in the development of a broad protective vaccine ”.

The American scientists who led the study of the genome analysis concluded that researchers around the world should continue to detect genetic changes in the novel coronavirus, both to track their distribution and also to identify antigen shifts should they occur. “Yet it is equally important to recognize that what we have observed so far is a slow genetic drive that is characteristic of a virus with a very stable genome,” PNAS study said.

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