Canadian News Mar 13, 2020 2:24 PM EST

A team of Canadian researchers isolated the viral agent responsible for the coronavirus outbreak

Researchers from McMaster University, the University of Toronto and Sunnybrook have managed to isolate severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, known as COVID-19.

A team of Canadian researchers isolated the viral agent responsible for the coronavirus outbreak
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta
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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.

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