Isolation and characterization of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in Turkey

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and associated with severe respiratory illness emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. The virus has been able to spread promptly across all continents in the world. The current pandemic has posed a great threat to public health concern and safety. Currently, there are no specific treatments or licensed vaccines available for COVID-19. We isolated SARS-CoV-2 from the nasopharyngeal sample of a patient in Turkey with confirmed COVID-19. We determined that the Vero E6 and MA-104 cell lines are suitable for supporting SARS-CoV-2 that supports viral replication, development of cytopathic effect (CPE) and subsequent cell death. Phylogenetic analyses of the whole genome sequences showed that the hCoV-19/Turkey/ERAGEM-001/2020 strain clustered with the strains primarily from Australia, Canada, England, Iran and Kuwait and that the cases in the nearby clusters were reported to have travel history to Iran and to share the common unique nucleotide substitutions.

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