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Prathap Nair

29/05/2020
The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has established stable cultures of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from patients’ samples. Virologists at CCMB have isolated infectious viruses from several isolates. The ability to culture the virus in lab enables CCMB to work towards vaccine development and testing of potential drugs to fight COVID-19.

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But why cultivate a dreadful germ? If we culture a large amount of the virus and inactivate them, then it can be used as inactivated virus vaccine. Once we inject the inactivated virus, the human immune system triggers the production of germ-specific antibodies. One can inactivate the virus by heat or chemical means. The inactivated virus can trigger antibody response, but does not infect and make us sick as they cannot reproduce.

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For the development of antibodies or antidotes, virus cultures are important. The antibodies can be used as therapeutic intervention for patients suffering from the infection. Such antibodies can trigger antiviral response upon injection into humans and have the potential of limiting the infection. Administering antibodies does not provide immunity like a vaccine does, but can be considered as anti-dotes against the virus.
These cultures may also be helpful in the process of drug
screening. Potential drugs can be tested against the virus in a test-tube for their efficacy.