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Researchers from McMaster University, the University of Toronto and Sunnybrook have managed to isolate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the agent behind the outbreak of coronavirus.
The team of researchers managed to culture the virus using two clinical specimens. The work was carried out in a Level 3 containment facility.
Infectious disease physician and microbiologist, Dr. Samira Mubareka said, “We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic. While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus.”
This achievement will help researchers to create better diagnostic testing along with treatments and vaccines. It will also allow SARS-CoV-2 biology, clinical shedding and evolution to be better understood.
“Researchers from these world-class institutions came together in a grassroots way to successfully isolate the virus in just a few short weeks. It demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when we collaborate.” said Dr. Rob Kozak, a Sunnybrook microbiologist.
NSERC post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, Dr. Arinjay Banarjee noted that the researchers will continue to collaborate and learn about the virus.
“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.” said Banarjee.