Wuhan coronavirus genetically similar to SARS

WHAT:  Coronavirus 2019-nCoV is genetically similar to the SARS variant, which killed more than 750 people from an outbreak that began in 2002, says Purdue scientist Andrew Mesecar, the Walther Professor in Cancer Structural Biology and head of the Department of Biochemistry. On Jan. 17, Mesecar and colleagues at the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Disease received the genome of the Wuhan coronavirus, and he and his team analyzed the genome on Saturday (Jan. 18). Mesecar found that the genome is almost identical to that of the SARS virus.


EXPERT:  Mesecar has previously done genetic work on the SARS and MERS viruses and has successfully developed drug targets for the diseases. He collaborates on the virus research with a team of scientists across the United States who make up the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases.


QUOTE: “MERS virus and the SARS virus are more different genetically,” Mesecar says. “But the Wuhan virus is genetically almost identical to the SARS virus and, therefore, it is expected to look and act nearly the same. In another week or two, we’ll be able to begin to see if the virus is mutating.”


Writer: Steve Tally

Source: Andrew Mesecar


Purdue University