COVID-19 pandemic is currently still a major health issue in Indonesia and the world. Until September 6th 2020, there were 194.109 positive COVID-19 patients in Indonesia and keeps increasing. Therefore, researches on the causal virus of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is actively conducted especially to understand the genetic profile of the virus to support the development of therapy and vaccine also to understand the disease transmission process of COVID-19.
The Genetic Working Group, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing Universitas Gadjah Mada (Pokja Genetik FK-KMK UGM) has conducted whole genome sequencing on 15 COVID-19 samples from Yogyakarta Special Region (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta/DIY) and Central Java. From those 15 samples, 4 samples were successfully mapped for the whole genome and 3 samples contained the D614G mutation. These results have been published in the GISAID website and open for public.
As known before, the D614G mutation of SARS-CoV-2 virus has 10 times higher infection rate in vitro and is spread across the world. This mutation is found in 77.5% of 90.090 COVID-19 genome samples published in GISAID. In Indonesia, this mutation was found in 9 of 24 isolates. “A third of those were detected in Yogyakarta and Central Java”, said the Head of Genetic Working Group, FK-KMK UGM, dr. Gunadi, Ph.D, Sp.BA.
The Genetic Working Group, FK-KMK UGM collected thousands of samples from 98 health facility in DIY and 30 facilities in Central Java. Those samples came from various hospital, primary health center (puskesmas) and public health office (dinas kesehatan). “The DIY samples were more dominant with 11.250 samples and 4.311 samples from Central Java. As a whole, 1.083 were positive,” said the Diagnostic Laboratory team FK-KMK UGM, dr. Titik Nuryastuti, M.Si, Ph.D, Sp.MK(K).
However according to dr. Gunadi, this number is still underrepresentative compared to the GISAID data from around the world totaling around 92.000 samples. Therefore, further research in Indonesian population is still needed to strengthen this data. Dr. Gunadi affirmed that the D614G mutation found in these samples strengthen the need for all people to be more discipline in implementing health protocol, such as hand-washing, wearing mask, avoiding crowd and keep distance at all times.
The dean of FK-KMK UGM, Prof. dr. Ova Emilia, M.Med.Ed., Ph.D., SpOG(K)., said the early findings of this COVID-19 virus mutation hopefully will support the government effort which currently still in the vaccine development testing. “We are very grateful in this early finding to help in the future development of vaccine or therapy. Furthermore, to give an impact in the public health policy and hospital patients management,” she said. (Red: Alvin)