MOSCOW, April 22. /TASS/. The novel coronavirus is changing as it spreads among humans, the World Health Organization's Representative in Russia Melita Vujnovic said in an interview with TASS.
"There are different versions of the virus in different parts of the world," she said, when asked how many versions of the coronavirus existed at the moment. "In theory, the coronavirus could have emerged anywhere but its versions are the result of its spread among humans," Vujnovic added.
She also said that the World Health Organization was closely monitoring research activities that could help understand the nature of the virus. "The information about the virus in Russia is available to the country’s researchers. Russian research institutions have informed the WHO of efforts to create a candidate vaccine based on the knowledge about the virus’s genome, so we expect to see scientific articles on the matter from Russia," she said.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 2,500,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 177,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 696,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, a total of 57,999 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 4,420 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 513 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.