Hebei virus strain may have originated from Russia
The COVID-19 strains found in Hebei Province — where there has seen a rapid surge in cases — may have originated in Russia, according to a research paper published on China CDC Weekly.
Researchers analyzed the sequences of samples of two Hebei COVID-19 patients — one from the provincial capital Shijiazhuang and the other from Xingtai — and found the genomic characteristics of the strains differed from recent strains detected in China.
After accessing the public database GISAID and GenBank, three Russian strains detected in July were found to share 10 variation sites with the two Hebei strains. Three unique sites detected in the Russian strains were seen in the Hebei strains.
The two patients tested positive for the virus on January 2. Neither had traveled abroad before being diagnosed.
Hebei logged 51 local cases today, more than double the 20 cases reported yesterday.