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Title A team led by Professor Park Man-seong and Kim Jin-il of Korea University College of Medicine Sequenced SARS-CoV-2 from COVID-19 Cases and Registered It on an International Public Database

Hospital KU Medicine

Date 2020-03-23

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A team led by Professor Park Man-seong


and Kim Jin-il of Korea University College of


Medicine Sequenced SARS-CoV-2 from


COVID-19 Cases and Registered It on


an International Public Database




Successfully Sequenced the Genome of the Virus with Next


Generation Sequencing (NGS) in BSL-3.


A breakthrough for the Identification of the Basic Mechanism


of the Virus, Drug-Repurposing, Diagnostics Technology,


Development of Treatment and Vaccine.



A team led by Prof. Park Man-seong and Kim Jin-il from the Institute


for Viral Diseases (Director of the institute Song Ki-jun) of the


Department of Microbiology of Korea University College of Medicine


(Dean Yoon Young-wook) successfully isolated the viruses from


COVID-19 clinical specimens and obtained their viral whole-genome





COVID-19 has spread to the world in just 3 months since it was first


reported as “pneumonia of unknown cause” in Wuhan, China in the late


last year. As of March 4th, 2020, 3,198 deaths - about 3.4% of the 93,000


confirmed cases. 



A novel coronavirus similar to SARS coronavirus was identified as a


source of infection and it is believed that it originated from bats, like


SARS-CoV-2. Since the 2015 MERS outbreak in Korea, the importance


of establishing a risk assessment system for zoonotic viruses has been


steadily rising.



The team lead by Prof. Park Man-seong and Kim Jin-il, accordingly, has


analyzed MERS coronavirus and other various respiratory viruses’


biological characteristics, such as viral transmissibility, pathogenicity,


and immunogenicity, and researched viral evolution for years. Based on


the previous work, the team successfully isolated SARS-CoV-2 strains


from patients’ respiratory specimens, completed a whole-genome


sequencing of the viruses using an optimized high-performance Next


Generation Sequencing (NGS) method, and shared the sequences on


Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data under the virus name


“BetaCoV/South Korea/KUMC01/2020, BetaCoV/South





The results of the research can provide necessary information for the


identification of the basic mechanism of SARS-CoV-2, drug-


repurposing, diagnostics technology, and development of treatment and


vaccine. Analysis of genome-based evolution can also play a major role


in providing a scientific basis for analyzing the domestic trend of SARS-


CoV-2 transmission.



The research provides the impetus to future research cooperation at


home and abroad on high pathogenicity pathogen as it was conducted in


Biosafety Level-3 (BSL-3) lab, Center for Biosafety's specialized


research facility in Korea University College of Medicine.



“After the successful isolation and registration of SARS-CoV-2, the


KCDC, the U.S., Canada, and Korean pharmaceutical companies make


requests for joint research and we plan to work with them in drug-


repurposing, and development of diagnostics technology, treatment and


vaccine for the virus,” Prof. Park Man-seong, a principal investigator,


stated. “We hope that the research will be further expanded and


developed to make major contributions to the establishment of the


COVID-19 response system.”