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Lockdown Lowdown is a segment on Tuesday's and Thursdays at 13.40 where EB Inglis brings in experts to chat about various topics that could help us during the national lockdown period.

On Monday 6 April, South African researchers announced that they had successfully sequenced the SARS-CoV-2 virus from a South African COVID-19 patient.

Scientists at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and University of Western Cape's South African Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI) successfully sequenced a virus sample of a COVID-19 patient who had returned to South Africa from a trip to Italy at the beginning of March.

Lunchtime host EB Inglis speaks to SANBI's Peter van Heusden to help explain what exactly this means, and how this breakthrough can help the fight against COVID-19.

We managed to extract the virus from a patient who has COVID-19, and weed it out using a machine called a DNA Sequencer, and what that gives us is a fingerprint of the specific virus that this individual had.

- Peter van Heusden, University of Western Cape's South African Bioinformatics Institute

We can compare that to viruses around the world, and what we first saw was - we knew this from the travel history - was that this virus looked like the other viruses seen in Europe.

- Peter van Heusden, University of Western Cape's South African Bioinformatics Institute

As we brought up the database of South African SARS-CoV-2 viruses, we can start seeing the pattern of how the disease is moving around the country and that will assist the people who are trying to track the disease and stop its spread.

- Peter van Heusden, University of Western Cape's South African Bioinformatics Institute

In collaboration with other scientists around the world, we can keep track of what's staying the same, and what's changing about the virus.

- Peter van Heusden, University of Western Cape's South African Bioinformatics Institute

When they're making the vaccine, they need to know which are the stable parts of the virus, that's you'll find in all of the COVID-19, so they can target that particular piece.

- Peter van Heusden, University of Western Cape's South African Bioinformatics Institute

Listen below for EB Inglis' full interview with SANBI's Peter van Heusden.

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