Coronavirus now has two strains, and you can get both

A passenger wears a protective face mask at the airport, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in Hong Kong. (Reuters)

Two different types of coronavirus strains could be causing infections worldwide, according to researchers at China’s Peking University.

“Almost 70 percent of the analyzed strains were linked to a more aggressive type of coronavirus, dubbed as the ‘L type,’ while the remaining 30 percent had been caused by a lesser aggressive ‘S type,’ the findings said.

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Wuhan, the Chinese city where the coronavirus was first detected in December 2019, was affected by the more aggressive type of virus. But gradually its frequency has decreased from early January. The new variations of the spike in coronavirus cases were caused by mutations and natural selection besides recombination, the researchers said.

Possible to be infected with both coronavirus strains

Genetic analysis of a man in the US who tested positive in January showed it is possible to be infected with both strains of the virus.

The study was conducted by the scientists at Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institute Pasteur of Shanghai and waspublished in the National Science Review, the journal of the Chinese Academy of Science.

The new discovery could make developing a vaccine more difficult. However, the researchers said follow-up studies would be needed to get a clearer picture of the virus’s evolution as the data was still “very limited.”

“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 said.


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Last Update: Friday, 06 March 2020 KSA 15:06 - GMT 12:06
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