New studies have been published in Nature regarding the genome structure of the now rampant coronavirus outbreak that is spreading across the globe.
The two studies deep dived into the virus' genetic code and found that most of the infectious disease contains 80% of the same genetic code as SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome). Ian Jones, who is a virologist at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, said in a statement that the coronavirus is "a version of SARS that spreads more easily but causes less damage."
An important step to developing a cure for the coronavirus is identifying its genetic Nature. Scientists collected complete genomes of the coronavirus from six patients at the beginning of the outbreak. According to one study which performed analysis on these samples -- 70% of the samples were "nearly identical" to each other. A second study from Fudan University in Shanghai and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention examined a patient that contracted the virus at ground-zero (Wuhan market) and found that the virus was 89% similar to "SARS-like coronaviruses".
While initially, it might seem like bad news that the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is similar to the deadly SARS virus, there's a positive side to this coin. Since 2019-nCoV is so close to SARS genetically, this might mean that some of the treatments made for SARS will work for 2019-nCoV.
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