A new genetic analysis shows that coronavirus has been spreading around the world for a lot longer than we previously thought.
Recent findings from around the globe are indicating that the coronavirus COVID-19 was spreading in communities around the world for much longer than we originally thought. Just yesterday, French scientists found traces of COVID-19 in patients' frozen samples that were admitted to the hospital with 'flu-like' symptoms back in early December. Originally, France recorded its first official COVID-19 case on January 27th.
The same thing is happening in other countries around the world, which is really pulling the veil from over our eyes at just how long COVID-19 was spreading without us even knowing about it. Scientists from Britain that analyzed the genome of COVID-19 in 7,600 cases around the world concluded that the virus was indeed spreading around the planet late last year. Another thing the scientists found was that the virus was changing (mutating), but through its mutation, it showed no signs of an increase in potency or infectiousness.
University College London Genetics Institute professor Francois Balloux said to CNN, "The virus is changing, but this in itself does not mean it's getting worse. All viruses naturally mutate. Mutations in themselves are not a bad thing and there is nothing to suggest SARS-CoV-2 is mutating faster or slower than expected. So far we cannot say whether SARS-CoV-2 is becoming more or less lethal and contagious."
Some medical professionals were hoping that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating around the planet for a lot longer than initially anticipated, as this could mean that a lot more people are 'immune' to the disease than expected. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, as the spreading begun late last year, according to the research.
"This rules out any scenario that assumes SARSCoV-2 may have been in circulation long before it was identified, and hence have already infected large proportions of the population", Balloux's team wrote in their report, published in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution.
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