Researchers in Canada have been able to isolate the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
SARS-CoV-2 is the agent responsible for the current outbreak of COVID-19 globally which has killed over 5,000 people.
Isolating the virus is expected to help researchers globally develop better diagnostic testing, treatments and vaccines.
It should also help gain a better understanding of SARS-CoV-2 biology, evolution and clinical shedding.
The researchers came from Sunnybrook, McMaster University and the University of Toronto.
The team members are Dr. Samira Mubareka and Dr. Rob Kozak of Sunnybrook and University of Toronto respectively as well as Dr. Arinjay Banerjee and Dr. Karen Mossman of McMaster University.
According to one of the institutions, Sunnybrook, the researchers succeeded in culturing the virus from two clinical specimens in a Level 3 containment facility.
Dr. Samira Mubareka, microbiologist and infectious diseases physician at Sunnybrook was quoted as saying that “We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic.
While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus.”
In a statement Dr. Arinjay Banerjee, from the McMaster University, said “Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus, we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork”.
He adds that “the more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share.”
There are roughly some 130,000 people who have been infected by the coronavirus worldwide as at March 13, 2020.
There have been more than 5,000 deaths across the world but significant number of patients have recovered, according to experts.
In China alone officials say over 36,117 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospitals.
Over 78,824 confirmed cases had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions on Chinese mainland.
In Africa some patients have already recovered in countries like Egypt and Nigeria.
These emerging details give hope that despite the deadly state of the virus, proper preparedness and treatment could help patients recover faster.
Whenever there’s an outbreak of a disease, misinformation and rumours can spread faster than the virus itself and it can be just as dangerous.
— World Health Organization Western Pacific (@WHOWPRO) March 10, 2020
Victims of coronavirus often suffer from respiratory illness and this new strain of coronavirus was not previously identified in humans.
The virus is a global public health emergency, according to the World Health Organisation which declared the virus a global pandemic.
WHO advises that people stay at home if they begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and a slight runny nose, until they recover.
Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect people and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.