Scientists in China who were studying the viral disease outbreak’s origin said they had found that two main types of the new coronavirus could be causing infections.
The researchers, from Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, cautioned that their analysis examined a limited range of data, and said follow-up analyses of larger data sets are needed to better understand the virus’s evolution.
The preliminary study found that a more aggressive type of the new coronavirus associated with the disease outbreak in Wuhan accounted for about 70% of analysed strains, while 30% was linked to a less aggressive type.
The prevalence of the more aggressive virus decreased after early January 2020, they said.
“These findings strongly support an urgent need for further immediate, comprehensive studies that combine genomic data, epidemiological data, and chart records of the clinical symptoms of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” they wrote.
Their findings were published on Tuesday in the National Science Review, the journal of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The findings come amid a fall in new coronavirus cases following crippling restrictions imposed on the world’s second largest economy to stop its spread, including transport suspensions and the extension of the Lunar New Year holiday.
Meanwhile, the number of new confirmed cases has steadily dropped since a week. The total number of cases on the mainland has gave reached 80,270. The number of deaths as on March 3 stood at 2,981.