Epidemic Intelligence

Coronavirus sequencing surveillance in Nepal.

Project Overview

Epidemic Intelligence is a consortium project to conduct whole-genome sequencing of SARS CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, to improve our understanding of the emergence and ongoing transmission of the virus in Nepal. The project will collect and sequence SARS CoV-2 samples from three locations spanning Nepal: Bheri Hospital in Nepalgunj (Far West), Koshi Hospital, Biratnagar (Eastern Nepal), and Sukraraj Tropical Infectious Diseases Hospital in the capital city, Kathmandu (central region). We will also follow up with the participants at three and six months to understand the frequency and symptoms of long-term complications of COVID-19 illness (known as Long COVID) in the Nepali population.

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Why Gene Seqencing?

What is Gene Sequencing?

Every living organism has a unique ‘instruction manual’ to build and run the organism, a copy of which is contained in every cell. When we sequence the genes of an organism we are ‘reading’ this instruction manual.  The instructions are contained in a substance called nucleic acid. For humans this is deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), but for some viruses, like the coronavirus which causes COVID-19, the instructions are coded in a very similar substance called RNA.  In the same way that words are composed of letters in different combinations, the DNA or RNA molecules have sequences of molecules called bases. In DNA these are adenineguaninecytosine, and thymine (A, C, G, and T) and in RNA the thymine is replaced by Uracil (U). When we sequence a bacteria or virus we are looking at the order of these bases and comparing them with other strains of the organism.

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