Indian-origin researcher part of Canadian team who isolated coronavirus strain; move will help world find treatment, vaccine

A person of India origin was part of a group of researchers responsible for isolating the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the viral agent that has been causing the COVID-19 disease.

Arinjay Banerjee, a postdoctoral researcher at McMaster University, was included in a team of Canadian scientists that managed to culture the SARS-CoV-2 using samples extracted from two coronavirus patients in a containment facility.

 Indian-origin researcher part of Canadian team who isolated coronavirus strain; move will help world find treatment, vaccine

Representational image. CDC

Banerjee’s team had members, both from the Sunnybrook Research Institute, McMaster University and the University of Toronto.

A press release by the Sunnybrook Research Institute said that the isolated virus will help researchers in Canada and across the world develop "better diagnostic testing, treatments, and vaccines, and gain a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, evolution and clinical shedding."

"Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork," Banerjee said. He has research interests in infections, immunology, virology and molecular biology.

Dr Samira Mubareka, microbiologist at Sunnybrook, added that scientists needed “key tools” in order to develop solutions for the pandemic.

"While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus," Mubareka said.

The viral outbreak of novel coronavirus has infected more than 250,000 people across the world and killed over 8,500 by now. People in 166 countries have been diagnosed with the COVID-19.

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Updated Date: Mar 20, 2020 23:04:02 IST