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Is there a second strain of coronavirus?

A new study makes the case that, yes, there’s a second strain of the novel coronavirus.

This undated file image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS, which was first identified last year.
This undated file image released by the British Health Protection Agency shows an electron microscope image of a coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that cause ailments including the common cold and SARS, which was first identified last year.
Health Protection Agency, Associated Press

The novel coronavirus continues to spread throughout the United States and the world. And, according to a new study, the coronavirus might have mutated at least once, which means there could be a second strain out there.

What’s going on?

  • Researchers from Peking University’s School of Life Scenes and the Institute Pasteur of Shanghai have found that one strain of the coronavirus — type “L” was aggressive and created about 70% of the strains, according to Fox News.
  • But the second strain — called type “S” — wasn’t as aggressive. It only accounted for 30% precent of the cases analyzed.
  • Type “L” was reportedly relevant during the early stages of the outbreak when it first broke out in Wuhan, China. That strain dropped down in January 2020.
  • The study researchers said: “Human intervention may have placed more severe selective pressure on the L type, which might be more aggressive and spread more quickly. On the other hand, the S type, which is evolutionarily older and less aggressive, might have increased in relative frequency due to relatively weaker selective pressure.”
  • The study said (via The Hill): “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).”

What else is new about the coronavirus?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that there have been about 130 cases of coronavirus in the United States. There have been nine deaths in Washington state.