A new study in China revealed the new SARS-CoV-2 corona virus mutated into at least 30 different types of genetic variation. The research was carried out by Professor Li Lanjuan and his colleagues from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.
According to Li, there were more than 30 different virus mutations detected, of which 19 were not previously found. “SARS-CoV-2 has the ability to mutate which is able to substantially change its pathogenicity,” Li said, as quoted by Fox News page, Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
The researchers analyzed virus strains from 11 randomly selected COVID-19 patients from Hangzhou, where 1,264 cases were reported. They then tested how efficiently the virus could infect and kill cells.
The results showed that medical officials had greatly underestimated the virus’s ability to mutate as a whole. They found that different strains had affected various parts of the world, which led to potential difficulties in finding overall healing. The study was published in a non-peer-reviewed paper released on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
Li’s team found that some of the most aggressive types of viruses were able to produce 270 times the viral load as the weakest type. In addition, aggressive strains can kill human cells in the fastest way. According to their findings, the diversity of virus strains is underappreciated and must be understood to find a treatment or vaccine.
In the study noted that the development of drugs and vaccines, although urgent, need to take into account the impact of the accumulation of these mutations. “Especially the initial mutation, to avoid the possibility of traps,” the study said.