Scientists from 4 BRICS countries to carry out genomic sequencing, mathematical modelling of COVID-19 pandemic

NEW DELHI, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Scientists from four BRICS countries will carry out genomic sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and studies on the epidemiology and mathematical modeling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Indian officials said here Friday.

The national flags of BRICS, Xiamen, China, Sept. 7, 2017. (Photo: VCG)

The countries include India, China, Russia and Brazil.

"This will help trace genetic mutations, recombinations as well as distribution of the virus and also make projections about the future of its spread," reads a statement issued by India's federal ministry of Science and Technology.

According to the ministry, whole-genome sequencing is required for the identification of genetic mutations and recombinations of the virus, while epidemiological studies can help assess its distribution and mathematical modeling is required to evaluate its future spread.

Officials said under the research supported by the Department of Science and Technology, India and Brazil will assess the distribution of SARS-CoV-2 in environmental samples through metagenome analysis for wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) surveillance, while Chinese and Russian scientists will carry out the Real-Time PCR detection of SARS-CoV-2 in biological material (nasopharyngeal swabs) from patients with symptoms of respiratory diseases and investigate the genomic variability, comparative genomics and phylogenetic analysis.

"The genomic, metagenomic and epidemiological data from India, China, Russia and Brazil will be integrated to develop mathematical models for mutations analysis, population genetics, phylogenetic relationship, recombination analysis and risk evaluation to reveal spread network and dynamics of the virus," the ministry said.

"This can help trace spread routes and dynamics of the virus. The database developed by the different groups will also compare the distribution and survival of the virus in the different regions and establish the surveillance of the relevant early warning system."