Asip Hasani, Surabaya, East Java – Airlangga University's Institute of Tropical Diseases (ITD-UNAIR) in Surabaya has completed six whole genome sequencing analysis on genetic data of SARS-CoV-2, of which four were found to be similar to the Chinese strain and two similar to the European strain.
ITD-UNAIR director Maria Ingelusida said data of two whole virus genome sequences had been sent to Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), while the four others were in the finishing phase at the lab.
"Four isolated sequences of the virus we've analyzed are closer to the Chinese clade and two are closer to the European clade," Maria told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
She said the six whole virus genome sequences might reveal the origin of SARS-CoV-2 in East Java. Data of three whole genome sequences submitted earlier by the Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology to GISAID were all similar to the Chinese clade, she added.
"So, ours provides new findings in terms of the virus origin, that the virus transmission source here is also from Europe, not only China," she said, adding that the whole genome sequence data could also tell the virus transmission path.
Maria said SARS-CoV-2 was an ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus that easily mutated. Therefore, she said, the SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences from Indonesia would certainly have some genetic peculiarities although they were closer to either the Chinese branch or the European branch.
She said that so far, there were three clades of SARS-CoV-2, namely type A (found in bats), type B of the Chinese strain, and type C of the European strain.
The complete six isolated SARS-CoV-2 sequences were among 20 samples taken from COVID-19 patients in Surabaya and several other cities in East Java, she said.
Maria said SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequence data provided virologists and molecular biologists with valuable information on important changes to antigen as well as valuable information for vaccine development.
"This data is very important because genes will code proteins that are produced by the virus. Information on the protein is needed in vaccine development, for instance," she said.
She said ITD-UNAIR would continue its whole genome sequencing project with more samples to be analyzed.