A team from the Whuan Institute of Virology examined the Coronavirus genome. According to initial analyzes, the new Chinese virus has a lot in common with the 2002 Sars virus. The two viruses have 79.5% of the genome in common and attack the respiratory system in a similar way. The discovery will facilitate the study of the disease and, consequently, the search for cures and vaccines.
To date, Coronavirus has infected at least 2,000 people and the number is constantly growing. In fact, it seems that the virus is extremely contagious, much more than the notorious Sars. It may also be less dangerous than Sars, which caused more than 800 deaths and panic waves worldwide between 2002 and 2003.
A research team coordinated by Dr. Peng Zhou analyzed the genetic sequence of Coronavirus. Scientists took fluid from the lungs of a sick patient and isolated the virus. On the surface of the Coronavirus they found a receptor identical to that of Sars, called Ace2. The receptor binds to the surface of the lung cells, penetrates it and opens the way for the virus. In this way, the virus enters the cell and spreads to the lungs.
The whole process is more efficient than what was seen in 2002: Coronavirus is spreading faster than SARS. However, we know too little about the virus to be 100% sure: we have neither incubation times nor all transmission methods. Probably, many cases have not even been diagnosed yet. Nonetheless, we must not panic.
While Sars had a death rate of 10%, that of Coronavirus would settle at 3%. This is without counting asymptomatic cases and cases mistaken for normal flu.