As if we didn’t have our hands full, scientists have identified at least eight strains of coronavirus as the virus continues to spread across the globe.
More than 2,000 genetic sequences of the virus have been submitted from labs all over the world and according to the data, researchers said that it reveals that the virus is mutating on average every 15 days, as reported by National Geographic.
However, NextStain co-founder, Trevor Bedford said the mutations are so small that there is no strain of the virus that is more harmful.
Saying, “These mutations are completely benign and useful as a puzzle piece to uncover how the virus is spreading.”
In addition, he said the various strains allow researchers to see whether community transmission is widespread throughout a region, which can inform whether lockdown measures have been effective.
An interesting fact is that most of the cases on the West Coast are linked to a strain first identified in Washington state and that strain is only three mutations away from the first known strain.
On the East Coast however, the virus appears to have come from China to Europe and then to New York and other states.
Kristian Andersen, a professor at Scripps Research has cautioned that the maps don’t show the full picture of the spread of the virus. Saying, “Remember, we’re seeing a very small glimpse into the much larger pandemic. We have half a million described cases right now but maybe 1,000 genomes sequenced. So there are a lot of lineages we’re missing.”
Keep practicing social distancing, wash your hands and as hard as it may get, stay quarantined. We will get through this!
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