SARS-CoV-2 isolation from the first reported patients in Brazil and establishment of a coordinated task network

BACKGROUND Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed in Brazil in February 2020, the first cases were followed by an increase in the number of cases throughout the country, resulting in an important public health crisis that requires fast and coordinated responses. OBJECTIVES The objective of this work is to describe the isolation and propagation properties of SARS-CoV-2 isolates from the first confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Brazil. METHODS After diagnosis in patients that returned from Italy to the São Paulo city in late February by RT-PCR, SARS-CoV-2 isolates were obtained in cell cultures and characterised by full genome sequencing, electron microscopy and in vitro replication properties. FINDINGS The virus isolate was recovered from nasopharyngeal specimen, propagated in Vero cells (E6, CCL-81 and hSLAM), with clear cytopathic effects, and characterised by full genome sequencing, electron microscopy and in vitro replication properties. Virus stocks - viable (titre 2.11 × 106 TCID50/mL, titre 1.5 × 106 PFUs/mL) and inactivated from isolate SARS.CoV2/SP02.2020.HIAE.Br were prepared and set available to the public health authorities and the scientific community in Brazil and abroad. MAIN CONCLUSION We believe that the protocols for virus growth and studies here described and the distribution initiative may constitute a viable model for other developing countries, not only to help a rapid effective pandemic response, but also to facilitate and support basic scientific research.
Keywords
SARS-CoV-2;  COVID-19;  virus isolation;  cell culture;  virus network

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Araujo DB, Machado RRG, Amgarten DE, Malta FM, Araujo GG, Monteiro CO, et al. SARS-CoV-2 isolation from the first reported patients in Brazil and establishment of a coordinated task network. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 2020;115:e200342. doi:10.1590/0074-02760200342.
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