Coronavirus may have spread in Washington state for weeks, gene sequencing suggests

Posted by on March 2, 2020 2:55 pm
Categories: Tech

Researchers who have examined the genomes of two coronavirus infections in Washington state said the similarities between the cases suggest that the virus may have been spreading in the state for weeks.

Washington had the U.S.’ first confirmed case of coronavirus, announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Jan. 20. Based on an analysis of the virus’s genetic sequence, another case that surfaced in the state and was announced Friday probably was descended from that first case.

The two people live in the same county but are not known to have had contact with one another, and the second case occurred well after the first would no longer be expected to be contagious. So the genetic findings suggest that the virus has been spreading through other people in the community for close to six weeks, according to one of the scientists who compared the sequences, Trevor Bedford, an associate professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington.

(Excerpt)

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