Chinese scientists have recovered a previously unknown virus from an infected individual and generated a full genetic sequence of it, a key step in efforts to learn more about the cause of an outbreak of unusual pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, state-run media reported Thursday.
Fragments of the same virus were picked up in testing of 15 patients among the 59 who have been identified as infected with the mysterious pneumonia.
The speed of the findings is impressive; the first case in this outbreak became ill less than a month ago.
The report on CCTV appears to be the first official confirmation from Chinese authorities that they believe a new virus is responsible for this outbreak — specifically a coronavirus, a type of virus in the family that includes SARS and MERS.
Confirmation that scientists have the genetic sequence of the virus will increase pressure on China to release at least part of that sequence, so that health facilities around the world know what to look for as they try to detect possible cases from this outbreak.
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