COVID-19: BCSIR’s genome sequencing reveals almost certain arrival via Europe


Dhaka, May 30: The Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) became the latest institution to sequence the genome of coronavirus samples from Bangladesh, revealing the 3 samples they worked with strongly suggested the virus arrived here from Europe.BCSIR completed sequencing of three SARS-CoV-2 samples at its laboratory.

The detailed information of the successful sequencing is viewable through the website of the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), where the database is stored.

“According to analysis, this Bangladeshi virus has 99.99 percent similarity with European sources, particularly Sweden,” said Dr Md Selim Khan, Principal Scientific Officer, project director and the team leader of the researchers.

Data analysis showed that nine variants were available at the amino acid level.

This brings the total number of genomes sequenced in Bangladesh to 23. And yet

“Twenty-three complete sequencing data, including three from BCSIR, are not enough for detail knowledge or to come to a conclusion,” the media statement said.

Bangladesh needs more sequencing data from different places to speed up its research activities including that of developing a vaccine.

Earlier, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman and the ministry’s secretary directed to collect samples from all possible places of the country and sequence them at genomic research laboratory of BCSIR.

“Once the work is done, it will help develop antidote, medicine and vaccine,” the statement said.

Bangladesh is grappling with a rising number of coronavirus cases. On Saturday, it reported 28 deaths and 1,764 cases. So far, the country has confirmed 44,608 cases and 610 deaths.