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Coronavirus May Have Mutated 150 Times

The National Institute of Health Doctor Ricardo Jorge (INSA) confirm they have identified 150 mutations of the new coronavirus from its origin in Wuhan, China to Portugal after they started sequencing the genome.

The nationwide study is led by INSA, in conjunction with the Gulbenkian Institute of Science and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health.  According to the President of the Instituto Ricardo Jorge, Fernando Almeida, the sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genome makes it possible to identify “the fingerprint of this coronavirus” and understand whether the virus that left Wuhan “is the same or has redefined itself.”  The genome also allows scientists to identify unequivocally, in an infected patient, its entire transmission line including country of origin.  With this knowledge, they believe they can assist countries trying to recover from the global lockdown. They also predict they will be able to calculate the probability of more aggressive and debilitating strains and their appropriate treatment.

During the press conference, the State Secretary for Health, António Lacerda Sales, explained that this study, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), intends to sequence 1,000 coronavirus genomes.

Genome sequencing allows for the identification of transmission chains, the scale and chronology of transmission, the points of entry into Portugal and that with this information, assess the impact of the current containment measures and create a course of action in the case of a new outbreak.

Samantha Gannon

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