Researchers from Tunisia in Teramo for the Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2




A significant diagnostic activity has led to the analysis of about 630,000 swabs for Covid 19, the IZSAM also performs research on several fronts like the sequencing of the genome of the virus which in December 2020 enabled the detection of the English variant, the Brazilian variant and allowing the constant monitoring of clinical and epidemiological relevant mutations, such as the Delta variant that has caused concern in recent times.


"Genomic analysis is essential to map the variants in real time and intercept the new mutations of the virus" – says DG Nicola D'Alterio - "Abruzzo is the most virtuous Italian region for the number of sequenced strains from swabs compared to the number of positive swabs. In the last month, the Covid-19 positive samples sequenced in Abruzzo correspond to 21.75% compared to the national average of 8.7%. In the laboratories of the Institute of Teramo we sequenced 90.7% of the Covid-19 positive swabs in the Abruzzo Region ".

“Obviously, the problem is not only Italian but global, which is why we have started scientific collaborations with Libya, Namibia and Tunisia. Last week we hosted the first two Tunisian researchers. During the year and in 2022 others will arrive to train in Teramo through a project funded by the WHO "- concludes D'Alterio -" we also await the visit of the Tunisian health authorities with whom we have begun further projects involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and  International Cooperation and the Italian Embassy in Tunisia: Italy is at the forefront for supporting Tunisia in the fight against Covid-19, in the news of these days, our country donated one and a half million doses of vaccine to the government of the North African country ”.


From the 26th to the 30th of July, the biologists from Tunisia; Wasfi Fares of the Pasteur Institute of Tunisia and Awatef El Moussi of the Charles-Nicolle Hospital, attended the laboratories in Teramo as was agreed during the institutional visit to Tunisia last May by DG D'Alterio and DS Giacomo Migliorati both from IZSAM. In addition, the first week of July, the head of the National Reference Center for Genomic Sequences of Pathogenic Microorganisms: database and bioinformatics analysis, Cesare Cammà, and the IZSAM virologist Alessio Lorusso visited the main Tunisian laboratories where the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 is performed. During the visit, the training needs of the Tunisian personnel were discussed.


"The work with the Tunisian colleagues was very useful. Information and knowledge, technologies and protocols were shared in order to improve the sequencing capacity of the whole genome and subsequent bioinformatics analysis by the Tunisia’s public health laboratories, all with the aim to better control Covid-19 "- says Dr. Cesare Cammà - "The training activities were of a theoretical-practical nature with 'training on the job' mode. The training was performed on about 200 Covid-19 positive samples from Tunisian health facilities. In this way, the Tunisian colleagues were able to identify the variants of the virus that are currently circulating in their country, thus obtaining extremely important information to update the current variants in Tunisia”.



4 August 2021

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