The novel coronavirus is behaving differently in recent patients and in those who contracted it at the beginning of the outbreak, international media reported citing a prominent Chinese doctor. China, where the coronavirus originated recently recorded new clusters in Northeast provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang. Qui Haibo, an expert in China's National Health Commission reportedly revealed that the incubation period in the virus in patients of the northeast was longer than that of Wuhan, indicating that the virus has changed over time.
"This causes a problem, as they don't have any symptoms. So when they gather with their families they don't care about this issue and we see family cluster infections," Qiu told state broadcaster CCTV on May 19.
Also, as per negative nucleic acid tests, the new patients in North East were not only carrying the virus for a longer duration of time but were also taking longer to recover. In addition to that, the Northeast patients rarely exhibited fever and suffered damage in the lungs rather than multiple organs. According to Hiabo, the clusters in the northeast were probably imported from abroad which could account for the differences. Both Jilin and Heilongjiang border Russia.
This comes days after a study by Shandong First Medical University, China stated that the virus which has rocked the world with the fatal COVID-19 disease contains natural insertions at the S1/S2 cleavage site of the spike protein. The bat-derived coronavirus has been denoted as RmYN02 for the research shares at least 93.3 per cent nucleotide identity with SARS-CoV-2 at the scale of the complete virus genome. However, even though it is not the direct evolutionary precursor of the novel coronavirus such mutations are possible in coronavirus evolution.
Meanwhile, researchers in London have recently found out that the deadly coronavirus which has now infected over 4.1 million people across the world is “well adapted to humans”. After the analysis of over five thousand strains of SARS-CoV-2 from at least 62 countries, the scientists noted that the virus is fairly stable but has gained some mutations including the changes in the genome that impacts the ‘spike protein’ that is used by the virus to infect the human cells.
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