Czech COVID-19 Genomics Study

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Czech digital genomics service provider Institute of Applied Biotechnologies (IAB) has partnered with the Second Faculty of Medicine at Charles University in Prague to study the genomics of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic.  The Czech group has completed a pilot study to understand the molecular epidemiology of the country’s COVD-19 outbreak, as well as to compare it to the global pandemic.

IAB said it will use the genomic information to help authorities and health service institutions to plan the extent of quarantine, evaluate vaccine potential, and ensure the reliability of diagnostic assays. As part of the initiative, the team completed a pilot study that analyzed clinical samples randomly collected from patients with SARS-CoV-2 in Prague and Kladno hospitals.

In the study, currently under peer review, the collaborators generated de novo assemblies of 15 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, which they used in phylogenetic analyses. Based on sequence similarity, the researchers found distinct clusters of COVID-19 genomes. Analysis of shared variants within clusters allowed the team to perform backward tracking of viral spread from patient to patient on an anonymized set of samples.

The team also compared Czech COVID-19 genomes with genome sequences from the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data’s database and identified unique variants specific to the Czech Republic.

IAB now plans to increase the number of analyzed samples in addition to collecting samples from other regions of the Czech Republic, in cooperation with Palacký University Olomouc and the Central European Institute of Technology in Brno.