Researchers At Dasman Diabetes Institute Urge Policy Makers Around The World To Speed Up The Vaccination Process
COVID-19 does not need to be introduced any more. It has been part of our lives for more than a year. Everybody knows by now that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causes COVID-19. All families are familiar with the elevated number of infections worldwide and every single person heard of someone they knew that gave their life to this ravaging disease. What we are still struggling to understand is the spectrum of disease severity among infected patients ranging from asymptomatic infection to intensive care unit admission and death.
Speculations focused on the differences in ethnicities, blood type, gender, medical history, etc. However, the team at Dasman Diabetes Institute, founded by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, led by their Chief Scientific Officer Prof. Fahd Al-Mulla had a different theory. They believed that the secret was in fact in the virus and this is why they started to look at the beginning of the pandemic spread back in early 2020. They analyzed the viral sequences from Kuwait and other sequences uploaded by many research groups from different parts of the world. Researchers at the Institute identified novel processes that allow different Corona clades to recombine together and generate superinfection viruses.
Genomics and Bioinformatics Department members were able to prove that different strains or variants of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are co-infecting and combining their genomes in one patient. This means that instead of one mutation in the virus, you have multiple mutations combined. This “recombination” process can result in more dangerous viral strains that can spread faster and worsen COVID-19 symptoms. Recombination events are detected only in the samples from patients in Europe and North America, but not in the rest of the continents. This work was done on the sequences that were available in April 2020 but making these observations, the team knew that it was only a matter of time before more strains start emerging from different countries. And unfortunately, they were right, new recombined strains emerged later in South Africa, Brazil and now wrecking through India. This study has been accepted in PLOS ONE journal.