Coronavirus mutates into second strain which is more aggressive and contagious03/04/2020
Scientists in China studying the viral disease outbreak's origin said they had found that two main types of the new coronavirus could be causing infections.
The researchers, from Peking University's School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, cautioned that their analysis examined a limited range of data, and said follow-up analyses of larger data sets are needed to better understand the virus's evolution.
The preliminary study found that a more aggressive type of the new coronavirus associated with the disease outbreak in Wuhan accounted for about 70% of analysed strains, while 30% was linked to a less aggressive type.
The prevalence of the more aggressive virus decreased after early January 2020, they said.
"These findings strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)," they wrote.
Their findings were published on Tuesday in the National Science Review, the journal of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The study comes shortly after scientists from the University of Alberta took a huge step towards developing a treatment for the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The researchers discovered that remdesivir – a drug used to treat Ebola – may also be effective for treating patients infected with coronavirus.
Professor Matthias Gotte, a virologist working on the study, said: “We know the drug works against different coronaviruses, like MERS and SARS, and we know the novel coronavirus is very similar to SARS.
“So I would say I’m cautiously optimistic that the results our team found with remdesivir and MERS will be similar with COVID-19.”
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