Genetic research of SARS-CoV-2 in humans and animals
An important characteristic of RNA viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, is that they easily mutate: continuous changes in the genetic material result in genetic diversity. Scientists can use this genetic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 to gain more insight in transmission routes of the virus. This is an important part of source and contact tracing.
What does the research involve?
In this study researchers combine genetic data of SARS-CoV-2 in animals and humans and epidemiological data. By doing so, researchers can explore the extent to which transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to animals occurs.
By combining data about the viruses in humans and - if found - in animals, we can unravel how SARS-CoV-2 spreads. This is important because we consider both human and animal health to be important. Together we know more!
Whole genome sequencing is used to determine the complete genetic code of various SARS-CoV-2 strains. In the Netherlands, a systematic sample of the newly diagnosed human cases has been sequenced since the start of the outbreak. In this study, this large human database will be extended with SARS-CoV-2 sequences in animals. Combined with epidemiological data collected during the first studies of this project, researchers can unravel sources of infection in case of linked human and animal cases. Virologist Marion Koopmans: "By combining data about the viruses in humans and - if found - in animals, we can unravel how SARS-CoV-2 spreads. This is important because we consider both human and animal health to be important. Together we know more!"
Erasmus Medical Center is responsible for this study. Marion Koopmans is leading this research.