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Coronavirus the global picture: virus mutating, new strains emerging

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Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2020. 5:07 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The latest global statistics on the novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19 shows over 900,000 confirmed cases worldwide, with over 46,000 dead, and over 183,000 having recovered from its effects (as of 2 p.m. today). Meanwhile, scientists have discovered that the virus is mutating resulting in several variants of the Wuhan strain of the virus, which started the global pandemic.

Researcher Trevor Bedford, whose website NextStrain.org has been tracking the mutations in the virus and producing reports, said that viral mutations are not a novelty, but that the COVID-19 mutations do not seem to be any more lethal than its parent strain.

Bedford took to his Twitter account to provide an update on the research and noted that “The observed rate of mutation (about two mutations per month) is completely normal for a virus. Flu and the common cold have similar mutation rates. Even a bit faster for flu.”

He added that viral mutations slow down efforts to create cures and vaccines but that the current course of scientific medicine is likely to produce a vaccine before serious mutations occur in the core strain. Various other international media outlets such as USA Today, Buzz.com, and The Guardian.uk are keeping watch on the developments with the viral mutations and the potential impact it can have on the world.

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