Coronavirus returns to China in more deadly guise: Doctors
Beijing : Chinese doctors have notified of some new changes in the way coronavirus has been interpreted so far. They suggested that the virus may be changing in unknown ways, complicating efforts to contain it.
The new patients found in northern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang have shown longer duration to test negative for it, Qiu Haibo, one of China's top critical care doctors, told state television on Tuesday.
Patients in the northeast also appear to be taking longer than the one to two weeks observed in Wuhan to develop symptoms after infection, and this delayed onset is making it harder for authorities to catch cases before they spread, said Qiu, who is now in the northern region treating patients.
"The longer period during which infected patients show no symptoms has created clusters of family infections," said Qiu.
The scientists are now trying to find out if the virus is changing or the new observations are a result of close monitoring by the doctors than before. At the time of outbreak, everyone was overwhelmed, but the situation is now under much controlled environment, leading to detailed research.
Meanwhile, the findings suggestion has posted a big question mark on what will happen if it is actually changing its behavior and how it will impact the governments' efforts in containing it.
"In theory, some changes in the genetic structure can lead to changes in the virus structure or how the virus behaves," said Keiji Fukuda, director and clinical professor at the University of Hong Kong's School of Public Health. "However, many mutations lead to no discernible changes at all."