corona strains nextstrain map
Illustration: Nextstrain

Eight strains of the new coronavirus have been identified, and it is likely to have thousands of mutations already globally.

According to Trevor Bedford, these mutations are thankfully not more dangerous than the original. His website, Nextstrain, is following the genome of the virus based on data sent to him from all over the world, reported Index. There are excellent illustrations and graphs on the site as well.

Researchers have been studying the genomes of the new coronavirus ever since it spread from animals to humans in Wuhan. The new mutations give researchers plenty of information.

According to Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, the question is whether there is a change in the virus’s virulence or other factors which affect humans with these mutations. Researchers say that the strains so far are not very different, and in terms of danger, there has been no change.

The rate of mutation is reasonable compared to other viruses. “Influenza and colds could have the same rate of mutations, and in the case of influenza, the appearance of a new mutation could be a bit quicker,” said Bedford.

Index reported that according to Zoltán Kis, the manager of the National Center for Public Health’s laboratory, the virus could have come to Hungary from several places, as more than one strain has been found while searching for a possible vaccine.

He added that even within one infected body, more strains could be presents.

“So far no medicine has been proven to be effective against the coronavirus, so news regarding it needs to be handled carefully,” Zoltán said.

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