Coronavirus began spreading in New York in February, came via Europe, says scientist

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 09, 2020, 10:30 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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The findings also stand substantiated with a slew of mysterious pneumonia cases that New York physicians were treating before large scale testing began in the city.

Ever since the novel coronavirus broke out in the United States with New York as the epicentre in February, scientists have been searching for an answer their questions -- how the deadly virus made its way to America.

Looks like this is a start to finding answers, as a scientist in New York has said the strain so far identified in local samples came from Europe.

"It's very interesting that so far, the majority seem to be coming from Europe, and this is in part I think because there was a focus on stopping travel from China," Adriana Heguy, a geneticist at NYU Grossman School of Medicine who led the research, told AFP.

The findings also stand substantiated with a slew of mysterious pneumonia cases that New York physicians were treating before large scale testing began in the city.

Heguy and her team determined the viral sequences of 75 samples taken from the nasal swabs of patients at Tisch Hospital, NYU Winthrop Hospital and NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn.

To trace back the ancestry of the virus, the New York team uploaded the samples they had taken to a server run by the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID EpiFlu) where scientists from around the world share data. The first patient they studied had no relevant travel history, meaning he had been infected by someone in their community.

In addition, if, as scientists suspect, the virus is seasonal and returns in a smaller second wave, they can immediately sequence its genome from infected patients, then take samples from the neighborhood where they live to determine if there is a community outbreak.

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