New Covid-19 outbreak in China links alert to possible virus mutation

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When compared to the pathogen seen in Wuhan, collections suggest that the coronavirus may be mutating in unknown ways.

The warning signal was turned on in China after a mutation of the new coronavirus (which causes Covid-19) was observed in patients. According to doctors, the sick, all of whom live in the northeast of the country, far from Wuhan, where the pathogen first manifested themselves, contracted a new version of the virus.

These patients, residents of Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces, appear to carry the virus for a longer period. However, your tests take longer to come back negative.

“As the infected patients did not show symptoms for a longer period, this created foci of familial infections,” said Qiu Haibo, one of China’s leading doctors specializing in intensive care, in an interview with the state TV channel.

The experts, however, have not reached a consensus on whether the virus undergoes a significant mutation. Some point out that the differences identified may be related to the fact that they are able to observe patients in more detail and at an earlier stage than in the cases in Wuhan. However, others suggest that uncertainty about how the virus manifests can hamper government efforts to stem the spread of the pathogen.

This means that scientists who assist in the work to search for a vaccine for Covid-19 try, in parallel, to identify whether the virus is mutating and becoming more contagious among the population.

“In theory, some mutations in the genetic structure can lead to changes in the structure of the virus or in how the virus behaves,” said Keiji Fukuda, director and clinical professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong. “However, many mutations do not lead to discernible changes.”





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