At the end of 2019, an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown origin was noted in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei Province. Experts and scientists found that the causative agent of the disease was a new type of coronavirus.

Coronaviruses – a family of 40 species of viruses in January 2020, combined into 2 subfamilies that infect humans, cats, birds, dogs, cattle, pigs and hares. The new coronavirus is a type of SARS virus that appeared in China in 2002-2003 and caused a pandemic that killed about 800 people in the world. Coronaviruses in humans can cause illnesses, from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was first diagnosed in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and then spread to 26 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe, leading to the death of sick people. This virus is different from other known coronaviruses, including those that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). According to the results of official data published in the media, based on an analysis of information over the past week, and also taking into account official reports and the position of the World Health Organization, we can talk about the increased risk of infection. As already known, 15 countries outside mainland China (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, USA, Canada, Vietnam, Singapore, Nepal, France, Australia, Malaysia and Germany) confirmed the occurrence of infection in their countries.


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Despite a rather short period of time, scientists from China have decrypted the complete genome profile, which is located in the international GenBank database, which simplifies the work of scientists in other countries, since based on these data it is possible to develop a diagnostic test system based on PCR in a short time.

Currently, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan has developed an algorithm for action in case of infection, as well as preventive measures to prevent the disease. Throughout the country, explanatory work is underway to prevent infection of the country’s population with the modern insidious virus.

(Illustrative photo from open sources)

In order to study one of the types of coronavirus in the period from 2016 to 2018, the International Research Project on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was carried out at the Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems of the Science Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Within the framework of this project, the distribution of coronavirus among camels and bats was monitored in several regions of the republic. More than 8,200 serum samples and about 2,500 samples of nasal swabs from camels, as well as 200 samples from bats for the presence of the genome of the MERS-CoV virus were studied by PCR.

According to the research results, articles were published, including in the international rating journal, and the results were reported in two international conferences.

RSE Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems SC MES RK is one of the leading research centers with over 60 years of history. Material and technical equipment, the availability of modern scientific laboratories with the 2nd and 3rd levels of biological safety (BSL-2, BSL-3), as well as highly qualified personnel are able to conduct research at an advanced level not inferior to foreign developments.

The Institute has one of the most powerful databases of the genetic library of viruses, which stores the genetic data of viruses and bacteria decrypted by our scientists.

Over the past 25 years, the Institute conducted scientific research on the study of especially dangerous diseases, development of diagnostic (test systems for PCR and ELISA studies, microchips, etc.) and prevention tools (vaccines against pandemic and seasonal flu, brucellosis, tuberculosis, smallpox, foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease, etc.), more than 60 items in total.

The technologies for producing recombinant strains based on genetic engineering have been mastered. New strains and vaccines against influenza, brucellosis, tuberculosis, smallpox, lumpy skin disease and many others have been obtained.

That is, we are actively using modern technology, including to create new generations of diagnostic kits and vaccines.

In case of outbreaks of especially dangerous and dangerous infections, the most effective way to hold the disease down is vaccination. Using data on the structure of the genome, it is possible to obtain genetically engineered, recombinant strains, candidates for vaccine development. In this case, the donor (carrier) can be obtained previously at the Institute tested recombinant viruses that are safe for humans and animals.

Taking into account the high relevance of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the scientists of our Institute have started to develop diagnostic tools and are preparing a test system for PCR diagnostics. With funding, we can complete the development of the test system within 10-15 days.

Our experience of previous years in developing vaccines against particularly dangerous infections allows us to say with great confidence that with funding, we are ready to start immediately and get a candidate strain of the virus as soon as possible, and the development of a vaccine, accordingly, may take some time. In addition, it is also necessary to take into account the conduct of clinical trials of the vaccine, which also requires time.

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