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Friday, April 24, 2020

April 24, 2020
Photo : Screenshot from Twitter of @DelthiaRicks

Finding a cure for the current COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging scientists and medical professionals all over the world. However, it now seems that the mission may be more complicated than initially thought as it has been reported through a Chinese study on infected individuals that the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has now mutated to over 30 strains. This may further delay the development of vaccines.

COVID-19 has now mutated to over 30 strains, says China study

A study from China says that the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the deadline respiratory illness COVID-19, is now more potent than ever--having mutated to over 30 strains based on the alpha strain.
The results illustrate that medical officials have greatly underestimated the overall ability of the virus to mutate. They have discovered that the different strains have affected various parts of the world. This has led to difficulties in finding that one vaccine that everybody has been hoping for.
Professor Li Lanjuan, together with his colleagues from Zheijiang University in Hangzhou, China, recently published a study on the coronavirus mutations on Sunday, April 12. He has been responsible for leading the team to discover just how virulent the virus can be.
The researchers analyzed the strains from 11 randomly selected coronavirus patients from Hangzhou, where there have been over 1,264 reported cases. The researchers then tested just how efficient they could infect and kill the cells. China's coronavirus numbers, however, have since then been questioned but have not been verified.
The sample of 11 people who were infected with COVID-19 showed over 30 different mutations--19 of which were previously undiscovered.
According to Li, "we provide direct evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 has acquired mutations capable of substantially changing its pathogenicity,"

Why did they choose to do the study?

The researchers were looking for a direct link between mutation and viral pathogenicity. This, in turn, would have been a stepping stone to discover the cure.
Li wrote: "Here we report functional characterizations of 11 patient-derived viral isolates, all of which have at least one mutation."
By testing samples from the 11 infected individuals, they are learning more about the virus as well as its potency to find a cure--since that is the end goal of all scientists, researchers, and health care professionals against COVID-19.
We here at Techtimes have also recently covered stories about the coronavirus' mutated strains. You can read those articles here and
The main point that researchers like Li are trying to make is that health workers, scientists, and researchers should not underestimate the potency of the virus which has now affected millions around the world. Still, there needs to be more understanding of the virus to find the most effective cure.