Good News: Canadian Research Team Makes a Breakthrough on the Wuhan Virus

AP Photo/Luca Bruno

A medical staffer watches from a tent at one of the emergency structures that were set up to ease procedures at the Brescia hospital, northern Italy, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Italians woke up to yet further virus-containment restrictions after Premier Giuseppe Conte ordered restaurants, cafes and retail shops closed after imposing a nationwide lockdown on personal movement. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Good news, everyone!

According to the Sunnybrook Research Institute, a team of researchers has isolated the deadliest part of the Wuhan Virus commonly known as the Coronavirus:

A team of researchers from Sunnybrook, McMaster University and the University of Toronto has isolated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

Thanks to nimble collaboration, the team was able to culture the virus from two clinical specimens in a Level 3 containment facility.

So what does that mean? The isolation of the virus allows for a plethora of things to happen, including more accurate testing and the development of vaccines according to Sunnybrook. A better understanding of its biology, evolution and clinical shedding can help us understand how the virus works and survives. This research can be distributed throughout the world so that doctors and researchers everywhere can better understand what we’re dealing with:

Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, NSERC post-doctoral fellow at McMaster University, said he knows the collaboration won’t stop there.

“Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork,” he said. “The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share.”

According to The Independent, this isn’t the first time the virus itself has been isolated. This research has also been conducted in China, Australia, and Italy. While this may seem redundant, it’s not. Viruses evolve quickly, and there are now several different strains of the Wuhan virus:

Covid-19 is the name given to the clinical illness these viruses cause.

Every time a virus infects someone and replicates in their respiratory tract, it mutates, with about half a dozen genetic mutations occurring. In the current outbreak, the mutations have led to two main strains of the virus emerging. The one most closely associated with the outbreak in Wuhan is more prevalent, and it is reportedly more virulent. The second one is less prevalent so far, and it has a lesser impact on its host, research shows.

With the mutations occurring quickly, the virus’s isolation allows us to learn more about how it works. The Canadian research team can now distribute its findings to the rest of the scientific community, making our front against the virus that much stronger.