The coronavirus has evolved into two major types,

Faeces And Urine Can Transmit The Virus


The coronavirus has evolved into two major types, with differing transmission rates and geographical distribution, according to a study published in the National Science Review on Tuesday.

A group of Chinese scientists analysed 103 coronavirus genomes and identified mutations in 149 sites across the strains.

They found that one type, which they called the L type, was more prevalent than the other, the S type, meaning it was more infectious. They also found that the L type had evolved from the S type, and that the L type was far more widespread before January 7 and in Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak.

Human actions soon after the outbreak was discovered in December may have changed the abundance of each type, the report said, citing the Chinese central and local governments’ drastic containment measures including lockdowns of cities, which it said may have curbed the spread of the L type.

The researchers said follow-up studies were needed to form a better understanding of the virus’ evolution and spread.

New cases down in South Korea, mainland China

South Korea on Wednesday confirmed 435 new cases of the coronavirus,down from 851 a day earlier, taking the country’s total infections to 5,621– the world’s largest after China. It reported four new deaths as the country’s toll reached 32.

Mainland China’s new daily cases continued to drop as it reported 119 infections, but the day’s new reported deaths jumped to 38, from 31 a day earlier, bringing its total fatalities to 2,981.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said 115 of the new cases on the mainland were reported in Hubei province, the outbreak’s epicentre. The total number of infections in mainland China stood at 80,270, with 49,856 patients having recovered.

Transmission by faeces and urine recognised

The spread of infection through faeces and urine has been recognised as an additional mode of transmission in China’s latest coronavirus diagnosis and treatment plan.

Citing research in which traces of coronavirus were found in patients’ stool samples, the NHC’s plan added contact with and aerosolisation of contaminated faeces and urine as transmission modes. Aerosolisation refers to conversion into particles small enough to be carried in the air.

Chinese health authorities have said that respiratory droplets and close contact with infected people are the main ways the coronavirus is spread. The NHC added in its previous treatment plan that aerosol transmission was possible for those in a relatively closed environment for long periods.