There are 48 variants identified in Campania since the beginning of the pandemic. The data is contained in the study on the monitoring of the most aggressive strains that bears the signature of Anna Maria Rachiglio, pharmacologist of the Pascale Institute of Naples, published in the scientific journal ‘Journal of Translation Medicine’. “The study – explains Rachiglio – for the first time described the type of variants of Sars-Cov-2 in Campania, revealing the presence of a considerable heterogeneity of viral strains since the first phase of the pandemic. The data relate to the sequencing of the genome of the virus obtained from molecular swabs, collected in the period between March and April 2020, of individuals residing mainly in the provinces of Naples and Caserta “. To ensure high efficiency of the variant monitoring system, and using highly sophisticated equipment, in the laboratories of Mercogliano (Avellino) del Pascale, directed by Nicola Normanno, a rapid sequencing protocol for the virus was developed, which allows to have complete viral succession within 24 hours of the molecular swab. The new technology was made possible thanks to the use of a highly automated latest generation sequencer, the Genexus, of which Pascale was one of the first centers in Europe to adopt. and high throughput capable of sequencing up to 32 samples in 24 hours. “The use of a high-throughput system – continues Rachiglio – has in fact made it possible to significantly speed up sequencing compared to standard procedures and to obtain the complete viral genome even of samples with a very low number of copies of the virus”. The comparison between the sequences obtained and the Wuhan-Hu-1 reference genome revealed the presence of 48 nucleotide variants, mostly observed in the Orf1ab and Spike regions, of which 12 never detected before. In particular, most of the samples from the Naples area belong to 7 different clusters, a data consistent with what is expected to happen in areas with high population density. The results obtained are the result of the collaboration between Pascale, Federico II University and the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, thanks to funding from the Campania Region. Ernesta Cavalcanti, Luca De Sabato, Cristin Roma, Michele Cennamo, Mariano Fiorenza, Daniela Terracciano, Raffaella Pasquale, Francesca Bergantino participated in the project strongly desired by the scientific director of the Cancer Institute of Naples, Gerardo Botti, Gabriele Vaccari, Giuseppe Portella, Nicola Normanno. Meanwhile, the monitoring of variants continues at Pascale, which is coordinating a study for the characterization of viral strains causing infection in cancer patients and healthcare professionals. “The research – says the director general of the Neapolitan oncology center Attilio Bianchi – has now overcome divisive approaches, to assume more and more a precise systemic meaning. Covid has worked as a catalyst, emphasizing in a decisive and definitive way the osmosis between knowledge. Congratulations to the work group that produced this research and to all those who help us find new ways every day “.
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