Scientists have identified no fewer than eight strains of the emerging coronavirus around the world, and its division since it was detected in the epidemic in Wuhan, China last December.
According to the “NextStrain” website, which is an open database for the evolution and transmission of the virus geographically, more than 2000 genetic sequences of division and development of the virus have been sent by international laboratories around the world.
The researchers say that this database, which includes samples of the spread of the virus on a number of continents except Antarctica, reveals that the virus strain is able to mutate and change every 15 days, according to Sky News Arabia.
One of the supervisors at “NextTrain”, Trevor Bedford, confirms that the mutations of change for the emerging corona virus are so limited that the new strain of the virus is no more harmful than its predecessors.
“These mutations in virus change are completely benign and beneficial, and they can be studied in the context of arranging puzzle pieces to track how the virus has spread in the world.”
He added that the different strains of the virus will enable researchers to study the evolution of the virus and its ways of spreading and know whether the closures imposed by countries are effective in limiting the spread of the virus in geographical areas.
“We will be able to know the extent of limiting the spread of the virus and answer the question: Can we lift our feet off the accelerator and curb the spread of the virus with these measures?” Bedford added.
This database provides a great deal of space for studying how the virus is transmitted throughout the United States, “Charles Qiu, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at the University of California, Charles told the USA Today.
He added: “The speed and how the Corona virus outbreaks are traceable, which means that this database provides us with the ability to do a study of the genomic sequence of the virus in about instantaneous time, and to know what are the different strains of the virus that spread in the world.”
According to the American newspaper, the new strain of coronavirus in confirmed infections on the American West Coast is related to a strain that was first identified in Washington state, and is only three mutations from the first known strain detected in the United States.
As for the strains that were detected on the American East Coast, the newspaper says it is similar to the virus that came from China and then moved to Europe and then to New York and other states.
But Christian Andersen, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute, noted that the virus genome database and maps appearing on NextStrain do not give the full picture of the virus’s spread.
“This database may be like the tip of the iceberg, and it does little to tell about the evolution of the Corona pandemic and how it is widely spread to the world,” Anderson told USA Today.
“We have half a million confirmed cases in the world at the moment, but there may be more than a thousand genomic sequences of the virus. There are many strains of Corona virus that have not been detected in this database.”