The rate of mutation of SARS-CoV-2 is 12.6 per sample in the country while the global average is 7.23 mutations per sample, the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research said.
The researchers published the findings at a press conference in Dhaka on Sunday after studying genome sequences of 263 samples.
“But the near double rate of mutation [than the global average] cannot be called concerning for public health. Virus mutates all the time. We need more research to find out how alarming the mutations are,” said Selim Khan, the head of BCSIR’s Genomic Research Lab.
He also said out of 103 nucleotide mutation in the spike protein genes, 53 were replacements of non-synonymous amino acids, including five unique ones that could be found nowhere else in the world.
Scientists around the world are studying the virus closely in thousands of researches to better understand how to prevent infection or cure the disease as the pandemic has continued to rage.
Bangladesh has recorded 325,157 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus, with 4,479 fatalities.
Globally, more than 26.9 million people have been infected by the virus and over 880,000 have died.
Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman, who was present at the news conference, said genome sequencing was important to develop vaccines.
“We won’t stop the research even if we get a vaccine, because the work may discover new diseases,” he said.
BCSIR Chairman Ali Aftab Sheikh said they found that all the samples were D614G strain, which is the most prevalent variant globally.
BCSIR has sent results of the study to 50 organisations, including China’s Sinovac Research and Development Company, Moderna of the US and the University of Oxford in the UK, which are working on developing coronavirus vaccines.