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Sun 10 May 2020 12:00 PM

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Two strains of Covid-19 virus identified in UAE

Scientific study has found 70 mutations in the UAE in existing strains

Two strains of Covid-19 virus identified in UAE

Dr. Alawi Ali Al Sheikh, spokesperson for the advanced sciences sector in the UAE.

Two strains of the deadly Covid-19 virus have been discovered in the UAE.

Based on a study by researchers from Cambridge University, there are three different types of the virus, which have been classified as types 'A', 'B' and 'C'.

The closest type of SARS-CoV-2 to the one discovered in bats – type ‘A’ - was found in Chinese cases and foreigners who lived in Wuhan – the centre of the Covid-19 outbreak. Mutations of this strain was also found in USA and Australia.

Type 'B' was the most common strain in epicentre Wuhan but not as common outside China. Type 'C' strain has been linked to most cases in Europe.

At a press conference on Saturday Dr. Alawi Ali Al Sheikh, spokesperson for the advanced sciences sector in the UAE, revealed that a study carried out by the Mohammed bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, established complete genetic sequencing for 25 of the early cases in the country.

Based on those 25 cases, Al Sheikh said, there are two strains in the UAE, 24 of which were found to have strain B of the virus, and most of them were related to travel to Europe. There is only one case that had strain A of the virus, and it was a Chinese tourist coming from Wuhan, he noted.

Furthermore, 88 percent of the early cases did not have any symptoms or only had mild symptoms. The findings also indicate that there are 70 mutations in the UAE in the existing strains, 17 of which have not been identified internationally in efforts to sequence the virus, he mentioned.

"This is an achievement for the UAE in which our country is contributing to the global scientific community’s efforts to understand Covid-19 by providing this information to an international research database for scientists and researchers," he said.

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