Ecuadorian University concludes the genome sequence of the coronavirus strain

The San Francisco de Quito University (USFQ) announced that it completed the sequencing of the genome of a strain of COVID-19, obtained from the first patient with this disease that was registered in the Ecuadorian capital and whose investigation will determine the behavior of the corpuscle.

Sources from the USFQ Institute of Microbiology told Efe that the complete genome of this virus strain that moves in Ecuador has been sequenced, whose variant has been named "hCoV-19 / Ecuador / HEE_01 / 2020".

The research had the collaboration of several faculties of that University, as well as the Intensive Care Unit of the "Eugenio Espejo" Hospital and the Zoology department of the University of Oxford, the USFQ said.

The investigated strain was taken from a COVID-19 positive patient in Quito, a 57-year-old Dutch tourist who was admitted to the "Eugenio Espejo" Hospital.

The study will assess the characteristics of the strain as well as its degree of aggressiveness, in addition to helping to find the possible circle of contagion.

The research determined that the patient was infected in the Netherlands with one of the first strains that arrived in that country and England from China and then went to Ecuador, Professor Paúl Cárdenas, from the USFQ Institute of Microbiology, told Efe.

It is "an old strain because it does not have many mutations, compared to the original one from China" and it is different from those that are circulating in Italy or Spain, Cárdenas added.

He assured that the study will also determine the variants that circulate in Ecuador so that, when a vaccine is developed, it can identify how it can cover the virus that circulates in Ecuador.

And it is that, for the scientist, "knowing the virus better, tools can be developed" more effective to control it.

Cárdenas indicated that the genome of some 1,600 strains of COVID-19 has already been sequenced in the world, but said that in South America Ecuador would be the third country where this study has concluded, after Brazil and Chile.

The academic, in addition, remarked that the appearance of the coronavirus warns us that "from now on we cannot continue being the same" as humanity and that we must prepare ourselves to give global responses to world phenomena.

"As humanity we must be prepared to give prompt responses that allow us to make quick decisions", which does not mean that they are "hasty responses" like those that have been taken in some countries, which in principle avoided the pandemic and have now urgently called for confinement massive population, he said.

It is always "better to have a global behavior", that allows us to face this type of phenomenon, which must be investigated in depth, because "the better information we have, the better decisions we can make," stressed Cárdenas.


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