The Regional Medical Research Center for the NE Region in Dibrugarh, Assam, has become the fourth laboratory in the country to successfully isolate the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus that can be used in the future vaccine production, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday.
The scientists used the immortal cell line VERO-CCL81, derived from the green African monkey’s epithelial cell lines of the kidney, which expresses the important ACE2 receptor needed by SARS-CoV-2 for cell entry, Sarma said, citing the researchers.
He said, in layman’s term, the significance of the COVID-19 virus isolation by the team of scientists from RMRC, Dibrugarh, is that live and viable SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) can now be produced in the laboratory in abundance and as and when required.
It is essential for the production of the COVID-19 vaccine, where the laboratory-grown virus is inactivated by heat or chemical agents and diluted for use as vaccines after pre-clinical and clinical trials, he added.
The center has carried out nearly 50,000 diagnostic test tests of COVID-19 for the residents of the Northeast.