All life on earth, from the absolute smallest until the absolute largest, has a unique genetic code in the shape of either DNA or RNA. SARS-CoV-2, the virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic, has an RNA.
A complete set of an organism’s genetic code is called a genome. Every genome has all of the information needed to build and maintain that organism. For example, each human cell has a nucleus that contains a copy of the entire genome, consisting of more than 3 billion DNA pairs.
What is Whole Genome Sequencing?
Today, there are no tools available that are capable of capturing an organism’s whole genome. What we can do is to split the genome into billions of fragments and then arranging them in sequence. Whole Genome Sequencing simply means determining the exact order of those fragments.
The sequencing process can described as working on a picture puzzle with a billion pieces. This process requires high computational power and complex algorithms.
What does this have to do with COVID-19?
Mapping the genome of the virus that causes COVID-19 and all of its mutations in Indonesia will provide complete information about the disease, including how the virus replicates itself and how to kill it.
This genomic database of the virus in Indonesia is important to serve as a foundation for researchers and medical professionals in creating a vaccine and finding the best treatments for COVID-19 specific to Indonesia. The data is also helpful in tracing and hence reducing the spread of the virus in the population.