The ‘Bats and Coronaviruses’ project leverages the expertise of EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) scientists, project laboratory leads (Drs. Keti Sidamonidze and Lela Urushadze of National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) – R. Lugar Center in Georgia, and Dr. Nisreen Al-Hmoud of Royal Scientific Society in Jordan), as well as Dr. Vincent Munster, a US-based virologist and member of the WAB-Net Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to develop standardized protocols for screening and characterizing coronavirus diversity in diagnostic samples collected from bats across Western Asia.
Screening coronaviruses from diagnostic samples collected by project partner countries will be centralized at two regional laboratories, specifically the CenRoyal Scientific Society (in Amman, Jordan) and the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) – R. Lugar Center (in Tbilisi, Georgia). Both partner laboratories possess the necessary experience and infrastructure to detect and characterize known and novel coronaviruses following our standardized laboratory protocols. Testing diagnostic samples at designated partner laboratories that follow standardized protocols increase the scientific replicability of test results and improve efficiency while adhering to strict biosafety standards.
Broadly, our laboratory protocols use consensus PCR and Sanger sequencing to broadly detect known and novel coronaviruses viruses. In addition, our standardized laboratory protocols include host DNA barcoding based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b (CytB) gene to serve as an extraction control and to confirm host species’ identifications.
For more information about the laboratory protocols used in our ‘Bats and Coronaviruses’ project, click here.