Successfully isolating and growing copies of the virus responsible for COVID-19 has enabled much-needed research into how the virus behaves and how it might be controlled.
Based at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, the small team responsible for achieving this feat includes researchers from the University of Toronto and McMaster University.
Samira Mubareka and Robert Kozak, both at the University of Toronto, worked with Arinjay Banerjee of McMaster to culture the virus from two clinical specimens in a level three containment facility.
“First, [isolating the virus] will make it possible to study pathogenesis and test out antivirals so that we can move towards developing treatments,” Kozak said. He added that it will enable researchers to extract nucleic acids from the viral isolate to use as a quality control, ensuring that testing assays are working well.