The WHO delegation visited the Hubei Center for Animal Disease Control and Prevention in Wuhan, China, on February 2.  Photo: Reuters.

WHO found there were 13 nCoV variants in Wuhan in December 2019

The WHO investigation team in China found 13 nCoV variants in Wuhan during the late 2019 outbreak, suggesting that the disease may be larger than reported.

Information was investigator of the delegation of the World Health Organization Peter Ben Embarek said on 14/2. The WHO expert group to China to investigate was told by the country’s officials to speak with the first patients, including an office worker about 40 years old, who were confirmed infected on December 8.

Data from the WHO mission trip may add to concerns among scientists working on the origin of Covid-19. “The virus was circulating widely in Wuhan in December, this is a new discovery,” Embarek said.

The WHO expert added that the delegation was presented by Chinese scientists on 174 nCoV infections in Wuhan city and surrounding areas in December 2019. 100 of these cases were confirmed with nCoV infection by laboratory tests, and the remaining 74 were confirmed through a clinical diagnosis based on the patient’s symptoms.

The WHO delegation visited the Hubei Center for Animal Disease Control and Prevention in Wuhan, China, on February 2. Image: Reuters.

The data above suggests Covid-19 may have affected more than 1,000 people in Wuhan by the end of December 2019, and Chinese doctors may only pay early attention to serious infections such as, Embarek said. 174 cases above.

“We have not made any predictive modeling since then. But we know, in the data of people infected with nCoV, about 15% of the cases are advanced, and most are mild cases. “, Embarek made a prediction base.

The WHO expert added that their delegation was also able to collect 13 different gene sequences of nCoV since December 2019. These sequences, if examined with broader virus infection data in China in 2019, could provide potential clues as to the location and time of Covid-19 outbreak before December.

“Some come from the marketplaces, but others are not. This is something we have found as part of our mission,” Embarek said of the nCoV strains.

Changes in the genetic makeup of viruses are common and often harmless, occurring over time as disease passes between humans or animals. Expert Embarek declined to conclude as to how influential the 13 virus variants have had on the history of Covid-19’s appearance before December.

However, the discovery of so many different variants of nCoV may also indicate that the virus has been around for longer in December 2019, as some virologists have previously suggested.

“Since there was genetic diversity in the nCoV sequences sampled from Wuhan in December 2019, it is likely that the virus has been circulating for longer than just one month,” says Giao. says Edward Holmes, a virologist at the University of Sydney.

Holmes, who has studied the timing of the occurrence of nCoV, said the 13 strains of the virus could indicate that nCoV had been undetected for a while before the outbreak in Wuhan, of which the first time discovered at Hoa Nam seafood market.

The WHO’s international team of experts just ended their investigation in Wuhan city, where Covid-19 started, with an assessment that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that nCoV had spread in Wuhan before December 2019, when the first cases were announced by the authorities.

Dominic Dwyer, an Australian expert and also a member of the WHO investigation team, said China refused to provide raw data on the first 174 nCoV cases in Wuhan, including details on cases. Instead, Beijing only released the summary.

UK and US have expressed concern about the WHO Covid-19 investigation, especially about the level of information access provided by the group to the Chinese side. In response, the Chinese embassy in the US accused Washington of “deeply damaging international cooperation in the response to Covid-19, but it appears that nothing has happened and is blaming WHO, and other countries. support this agency “.

Ngoc Anh (Follow CNN)


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