At Ceinge of Naples, the virus is isolated on a patient from Campania: «We reveal its secrets»


In the world bank of strains of Covid-19 there is one who speaks Neapolitan: obtained for the first time in Campania, at Ceinge, the genetic sequence of a Coronavirus that struck a patient from Campania. In the laboratories of the Neapolitan Center for advanced Biotechnologies, the research team led by Massimo Zollo – Professor of Genetics at Federico II University and Ceinge researcher – he identified the sequence of about 30 thousand letters (nitrogenous bases) that make up the virus instruction booklet, that is the information needed to build the proteins with which the microbe replicates and spreads. The methodology used by Ceinge is that of Next generation sequencing, a particularly efficient technology which with the aid of powerful calculation machines allows, in parallel, to decode millions of DNA fragments (in this case Rna, single-strand genetic material). “These technologies – underlines Zollo – have marked a revolutionary turning point in the possibility of characterizing large genomes compared to the first generation DNA sequencing methods. The sequence of the Campania virus – Zollo adds – has been published in the international database Gisaid, the world bank of Covid-19. Now scientists from all over the world will be able to compare this sequence with the others already deposited to assess the presence of correspondences and any differences between this and the other viruses to which the fingerprint was, so to speak, taken ”. «From a preliminary and intermediate evaluation of the research financed by the Region, extremely interesting results are emerging which, if confirmed, will have exceptional diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic implications» adds the professor Pietro Forestieri, president of the Ceinge.

READ ALSO Kraft-Heinz invests in Naples: research on baby food at Ceinge

From the investigations conducted so far all over the world, Sars-CoV-2 would be the result of the natural evolution of other viruses of the same family originating from bats and not a laboratory or genetic engineering product (i.e. it is not man-made by manipulating viral genes in a test tube), as insinuated several times since the beginning of the epidemic. To suggest it are several converging studies on the genomes of Sars-CoV-2 and related viruses, one of which published in the journal Nature Medicine. “By comparing the genetic data currently available for different types of coronavirus, we can resolutely determine that Sars-CoV-2 originated through natural processes,” says Kristian Andersen, of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla who led the work. The affinity of the spike protein and its part called Rbd with Ace2 receptors is so perfect (Rbd fits perfectly with Ace2 as a key with its lock or two pieces of a puzzle), which can only be the result of natural selection and not the product of genetic engineering.

Ceinge, center for advanced biotechnology, operates in the field of molecular biology and is an excellence for the research and diagnostics of genetic diseases (hereditary and acquired). It is no coincidence that Kraft-Heinz recently decided to invest in Naples by choosing Ceinge for its studies. The US company, owner of many famous brands in Italy such as Plasmon, Nipiol and Dieterba, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ceinge for the development of research activities on innovative foods for human nutrition and the development of new baby foods . The collaboration will take place with the immunonutrition experts of the Neapolitan center. The idea was born from a consolidated collaboration between the Kraft-Heinz Research and Development area and the group of Roberto Berni Canani, one of the best experts in the world in the field of gastroenterology and pediatric nutrition, who has conducted several studies on the beneficial properties of a new product for the feeding of infants that comes from the fermentation of cow’s milk with the probiotic of human origin Lactobacillus paracasei Cba L74. The studies conducted by the Berni Canani group have made it possible to define the positive effects of this fermented matrix in particular in the prevention of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections in children.

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