MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. Chinese researchers have discovered two subtypes of the novel coronavirus with different virulence, Beijing Daily reported Wednesday citing Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The researches have examined 103 coronavirus specimen and discovered that it underwent 149 mutations an evolved into two subtypes - S-and L-type. These subtypes were discovered in 101 specimen, and 70% of those were L-type, while 30% were S-type.
The L-type is more virulent, the research says.
The S-type coronavirus resembles more the virus found in bats. The researchers believe that the S-type is an "old" version of the coronavirus.
During the early days of the outbreak in Wuhan, the L-type was widespread, but after the first week, its incidence reduced.
A pneumonia outbreak caused by the COVID-19 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV) was reported in China’s Wuhan, a large trade and industrial center with a population of 12 million, in late December. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, describing it as an epidemic with multiple locations. Besides China, major coronavirus outbreaks have been reported in South Korea, Iran and Italy. More than 70 countries, including Russia, have reported confirmed coronavirus cases.
In China, which accounts for the majority of the novel coronavirus cases, the death toll is nearing 3,000, while almost 80,000 people have been infected and another 50,000 have recovered. According to the WHO, the number of coronavirus sufferers outside China has exceeded 10,500 and more than 160 have died.