In a special laboratory with the highest level 3 of biosecurity (BSL3), virologists from the Institute of Virology of the Biomedical Research Center of the SAS managed to isolate the first Slovak strains of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 on their cell cultures.
“This success was achieved thanks to the close cooperation with the Public Health Authority. The National Reference Centre for Influenza led by Mgr. Edita Staroňová, PhD. helpfully provided clinical samples of the first Slovak patients, which served as a source of the virus. Consequently, several members of the Department of Virus Ecology at the Institute of Virology of the BMC SAS participated in team isolation of the virus. The credit goes especially to RNDr. Monika Sláviková, PhD. for her work in the BSL3 laboratory,” said RNDr. Boris Klempa, DrSc., head of the Department of Virus Ecology of BMC SAS.
After the successful isolation from viruses, scientists have prepared non-infectious samples of their genetic materials, which are now being processed by the team of RNDr. Tomáš Szemeš, PhD. from the Comenius University Science Park with the aim of identification of the complete virus genome.
“After the successful genetic characterization, Slovak strains of virus SARS-CoV-2 will be deposited in the European Virus Archive, of which the Institute of Virology BMC SAS is a founding member. This will make them available to the international scientific community for further research. This success is an exemplary act of cooperation between Slovak public and academic institutions, which have joined forces for good cause in a difficult situation and will contribute to international research of the new virus,” added the virologist.