The research is carried out by scientists from the Institute for Research in Bacteriology and Molecular Virology (IBaViM) of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the UBAas stated in a press release.
“There are many strategies that allow viruses to remain in the population. Our project is to identify these strategies,” explained biochemist Débora Marcone, a researcher at IBaViM and specialist in respiratory virus evolution and its clinical implications.
The virologist stated that the aim of the study is to determine “if there is a common pattern if there is something general in the evolution of viruses”, so they want to find out How are the changes between the different winter seasons, from one year to the next and from one hemisphere of the planet to another?”
At the beginning of autumn, the researchers start the diagnosis by analyzing the PCR tests carried out in different health centers to find out which virus is circulating and which strain is predominant in each of them.
In the meantime, towards the end of the winter season, these samples will be examined in detail to find out every single gene of the circulating viruses, i.e. the genome.
“It is important to know the development of local viruses”Study which parts of the viral genome are more prone to change and thus find out whether they are more efficient at infecting humans or whether they are able to evade one of the existing vaccines,” explained Andrés Culasso, also a IBaViM researcher and professor at the Chair of Virology in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the UBA.
This information is useful, for example, in the case of influenza, where it is important to know which variants are circulating in order to formulate the vaccine and reformulate it every year, he explained.
“We are studying sequences originating in Argentina but have access to samples taken in any other part of the world thanks to public databases that have become extensive during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Marcone clarified, adding: “It helps us.” Provide context of what is happening in the region compared to other places.”
The expert noted “Influenza outbreaks or epidemics often coincide between the southern and northern hemispheres, but sometimes not. So we have to see if the same variants are in circulation.”This is important in knowing if vaccines need to be reformulated for their use to be effective.