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Scientists identify at least eight strains of coronavirus from over 2,000 genetic sequences

The researchers who are working overtime to understand the evolution of the virus, have identified at least eight strains of novel coronavirus doing the rounds globally. According to a report in National Geographic, the samples included from almost every continent except Antarctica showed the virus is taking on an average of 15 days for mutation.

Over 2,000 genetic sequences of the coronavirus were submitted from the laboratories across the world to an open-source project Nextstrain.org to examine how the virus is migrating into new subtypes.

However, this does not mean that the virus is turning dangerous, rather, the mutations are helping scientists understand their behavior and origin. Nextstrain Co-founder Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist by profession at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, US, said, “These mutations are completely benign and useful as a puzzle piece to uncover how the virus is spreading. One thing that’s become clear is that genomics data gives you a much richer story about how the outbreak is unfolding.”

As per reports, the evolution of the virus also helped scientists to debunk the conspiracy theory that the virus has been originated in laboratories.

The deadly pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that emerged in the Wuhan province of China last year and has been a reason for severe health crisis from across the world is the product of natural evolution, the study reveals in the Journal Nature medicine.

The corresponding author on the paper Kristian Anderson, Associate Professor of Immunology and Microbiology at Scripps Research Institute in the US, “By comparing the available genome sequence data for known coronavirus strains, we can firmly determine that SARS-CoV-2 originated through natural processes.”

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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