First viral strain of coronavirus isolated and shared by WIV with WHO as early as Jan last year
Published: Apr 12, 2021 11:14 PM
Shi Zhengli. Photo: Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)

Shi Zhengli. Photo: Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV)

The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) isolated the first viral strain of the novel coronavirus and handed it over to the World Health Organization (WHO) as early as January 12, 2020, media reported.

On the evening of December 29, 2019, doctors from Jinyintan Hospital received seven cases of unknown pneumonia, marking the beginning of collective hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, The Paper news website reported on Monday. The day after, the hospital managed to isolate the world's first sample of coronavirus strain from those patients.

On December 30, the WIV received the samples and was able to identify the presence of a novel coronavirus 72 hours later. The lab confirmed the complete genome sequence of the novel coronavirus on January 2, 2020.

The WIV managed to isolate the first viral strain of the coronavirus on January 5, 2020, and handed it over to the WHO days later on January 12. This achievement helped world's development on treatment and vaccines of COVID-19. 

Shi Zhengli, virologist from the WIV, indicated that it took scientists from multiple countries five months to find the pathogen for SARS and isolate the viral strain. "Now, we reference that time to isolate the viral strain of coronavirus," she said, "so that's our speed." 

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