Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Polish Academy of Sciences has been working on monitoring genetic variability and the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Poland. These activities include high-throughput analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes using the next-generation sequencing and development of the national COVID-19 data hub.
The project of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing was launched thanks to a subvention granted to the Institute by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education in April last year. Currently, these studies are financed from IBCH PAS funds. The Institute started nationwide activities related to the SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiology from cooperation with the Voivodship Sanitary and Epidemiological Station in Poznan. At the end of December 2020, IBCH PAS started cooperation with five national laboratories involved in COVID-19 diagnostics, which committed to provide material for the analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genomes. These institutions include: Szpital Pomnik Chrztu Polski (Gniezno), Regionalne Centrum Naukowo-Technologiczne (Podzamcze), Centra Genetyki Medycznej GENESIS (Poznań), NZOZ Aurimed and Centrum Patologii Molekularnej Cellgen (Wrocław), and Narodowy Instytut Geriatrii, Reumatologii i Rehabilitacji (Warsaw).
Last year, the IBCH PAS sequenced nearly 300 samples collected from people infected with SARS-CoV-2. Currently, nearly half of the SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences from Poland deposited in public databases are the result of research carried out at IBCH PAS.
Data from sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 genomes are submitted and analyzed on an ongoing basis on the COVID-19 Data Portal Poland, created in response to the decision of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, according to which the Institute was established a national node of the European COVID database 19 (the European COVID-19 Data Platform). The project is coordinated by ICHB PAN and affiliated Poznań Supercomputing and Networking Center pro public bono.
The COVID-19 Data Portal Poland offers integrated bioinformatics tools and e-services that allow comprehensive analysis and visualization of SARS-CoV-2 genomic data. The platform allows for real-time monitoring of the presence of individual SARS-CoV-2 variants in Poland, tracking the transmission of infections. It is also constantly used to assess the impact of new SARS-CoV-2 mutations on the effectiveness of MediPAN genetic diagnostic tests. In addition to the pandemic map, platform also offers interactive reports on the epidemiological situation in the country.
In order to increase the availability and usage of public digital e-services related to COVID-19 in Wielkopolska, ICHB PAN created a regional data platform REGIONAL COVID-HUB. This project received funding from the Marshal’s Office of the Wielkopolska Region.