10:31 GMT25 February 2020
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    Earlier, scientists in China, where the virus initially appeared, managed to recreate the genome sequence, but not the virus itself. This indicates that Australian discovery is the first of its kind.

    Australian scientists working at a lab in the city of Melbourne succeeded in recreating the new coronavirus. The scientists, who have called their discovery “significant breakthrough”, said that they are going to share it with the World Health Organization (WHO), according to BBC.

    The researchers said that they hope their new discovery may help efforts to diagnose and treat the virus, which has taken lives of 132 people in China and infected nearly 6,000 others.

    The recreated copy of the virus was grown from a sample received by the Australian researchers last Friday. The sample was said to have been taken from an infected patient.

    “We’ve planned for an incident like this for many, many years and that’s really why we were able to get an answer so quickly,” said Dr. Mike Catton of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, as cited BBC.

    Doctors reportedly said the copy could be used as “control material” for testing and “will be a game changer for diagnosis” of the coronavirus, the incubation period of which can range from two to 10 days.

    “An antibody test will enable us to retrospectively test suspected patients so we can gather a more accurate picture of how widespread the virus is, and consequently, among other things, the true mortality rate. It will also assist in the assessment of effectiveness of trial vaccines,” Dr. Catton reportedly said.

    Since the beginning of the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Chinese authorities have locked down more than 50 million people in and around Wuhan, the central industrial city where the outbreak first began, in a bid by authorities to stop the spread of the infection, that has since reached other cities in China as well as other countries.

    Nearly 50 cases of infection have been registered in 15 other countries, including in Thailand, Germany, France, the US and Australia, but no deaths have been reported outside China.


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