An Indian-origin researcher is among the team of scientists that have managed to isolate a certain strain of coronavirus responsible for the outbreak. According to reports, Arinjay Banerjee, NSERC post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University along with a team of Canadian scientists has isolated the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent which was causing the COVID-19 outbreak.
As per reports, Dr. Banerjee worked with a team of scientists from Sunnybrook Research Institute, the University of Toronto, and McMaster University to culture the virus from two clinical specimens in a Level 3 containment facility. According to a release by Sunnybrook Research Institute, "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."
Dr. Banerjee in the release said, "Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork. The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share." Banerjee further added that he knows the collaboration won’t stop there. The team also included Dr. Samira Mubareka and Dr. Rob Kozak of Sunnybrook and the University of Toronto and Dr. Karen Mossman of McMaster University.
The COVID-19 has claimed more than 9,200 lives across the world and has infected over 2,25,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Iran is also highly affected as it became the third country after China and Italy to record more than 1,000 deaths.
Health experts had earlier indicated that the vaccine could take at least a year to develop. However, the United States had started conducting human trials this week.