China shares DNA sequences of new coronavirus in Wuhan casesLocal | 12 Jan 2020 6:52 pm
China has shared with World Health Organization genetic sequences of the noval coronavirus believed to be the cause of pneumonia cases in Wuhan city.
The sharing means Hong Kong health authorities will soon get the DNA sequencing, which would allow development of speed tests of the virus.
This came after mainland experts last Thursday announced it has identified the cause of an unknown pneumonia-inducing disease to be a new coronavirus from the same family as the deadly pathogens causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrom (MERS).
The World Health Organization yesterday confirmed it had received the genome data from mainland and expect to make it public as soon as possible. It thanked Chinese authorities “for their commitment to sharing information on the novel coronavirus as they continue intensive surveillance and follow-up measures, including environmental investigations.”
It said: “Genetic sequences of the novel coronavirus will allow countries to develop specific diagnostic kits, quickly identify and then care for anyone infected, and ensure better health outcomes and containment of the virus.”
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection yesterday said the Chinese National Health Commission has shared with the World Health Organization the genetic sequences of the noval coronavirus that caused the unknown disease in the capital city of Hubei province. It said the genetic sequences have also been submitted to the online Genbank Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) and will be available for the public upon completion of cross-checking.
After that, the SAR center will be able to obtain the genetic sequence to develop speed tests to detect the virus in patients.
“While the center's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch is conducting molecular testing for a number of coronaviruses, it will develop specific tests based on the information of the new sequence,” a statement wrote.