Staff at the Sanger Institute, located in a village near Cambridge, UK, are currently involved in research on the corona virus. The genetic sequencing of this virus is underway here. The job is called Project Heron, which consists of a staff of hundreds. These people are trying to find mutations in the genetic code of the corona virus, so that the serious virus that is altering the pattern can be caught before the epidemic gets more frightening.
‘Mountain’ of genetic data
Here, samples from across the country are kept in floor-standing freezers. Inside the lab, a robot collects these positive samples in a small plate and places them on a separate tray that is hand sealed. In another lab, chemicals are added to it and shaken in a small machine, then squeezed between two pieces of glass. Computer genetic data is generated after approximately 15 hours.
Discovery of mutations
Every week, 10,000 samples are sequenced in this laboratory. British microbiologist Evan Harrison told CNN: “We are looking for mutations that make the virus more contagious or cause serious illness, and especially now that vaccines are being administered around the world, we are seeing mutations that are affecting people in the world. vaccine. Impact on the ability to help. ‘The new strain of the virus was discovered about two months ago using genetic data available with Britain.
Concern about the effect of the vaccine
According to research by Professor Ravi Gupta of the University of Cambridge, Pfizer / BioNTech’s Corona vaccine is effective against new strains of the virus, but not necessarily with every new strain to come. A variant has also been found in South Africa and there are concerns about the effect of the vaccine on it. With this, the discussion about the booster shot also intensified. Professor Gupta says mutations in the virus create resistance against the vaccine and the immune system.
… we do not know yet?
According to England public health spokesperson Ruaridh Villar, the variants from the UK, South Africa and Brazil have so far been known, but this is possible due to the sequencing ability of these countries and mutations in the virus are happening elsewhere And we may not know that. Professor Gupta and Harrison also believe dangerous variants of the virus are spreading elsewhere where scientists are unable to find new strains. The UK government plans to help other countries with sequencing to increase their ability to detect mutations.