Dr. Samira Mubareka has been spending a lot of time in her lab lately.
The infectious diseases physician and microbiologist is one of the key leaders in Sunnybrook’s response to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. She is also a member of a local working group of scientists who are researching the virus and finding ways to better combat it.
Along with her colleagues, Dr. Mubareka recently received a grant that will allow the group to use next generation sequencing technologies to capture COVID-19 from patient samples and generate whole genome sequences in real-time.
“We want to develop a sensitive, real-time advanced sequencing approaches to help hospital labs better detect and characterize the virus.”
Faster generation of additional and accurate genomic data will improve diagnostics and help researchers better understand COVID-19, including how much virus is shed and whether this relates to disease severity or poor outcomes. This will then allow researchers to further explore key questions that are relevant to front-line healthcare providers and the public, like how the virus transmits, and for how long.
As all eyes are on the world’s infectious diseases experts and infection prevention and control teams as they try to learn more about this new pathogen and control its spread, Dr. Mubareka says she draws upon her own curiosity and uses that to drive her forward, for patients and the community.
“We are performing real-time science,” said Dr. Mubareka. “By leveraging existing projects and technologies, Canada’s microbiology, infectious diseases and genomics experts are all working together to improve our understanding of this emerging pathogen.”
For accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19 please visit sunnybrook.ca/coronavirus.