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On Friday, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases announced that it has succeeded in cultivating and isolating the Wuhan coronavirus, reported the Japan Times.
Now that it has isolated the virus, the institute can begin developing a vaccine and a drug for the coronavirus. It can also deliver test kits capable of offering a quick diagnosis.
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The institute will also share the isolated virus with researchers and other companies. The researchers found that 99.9% of the isolated virus gene matched those released by the Chinese government.
In other words, there was no gene mutation leading to higher infectiousness or toxicity.
Meanwhile, the first death outside of China has been recorded in the Philippines. “This is the first reported death outside China,” Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the World Health Organization representative to the Philippines, told The Guardian. “However, we need to take into mind that this is not a locally acquired case. This patient came from the epicenter of this outbreak.”
Since it was first detected, the virus has killed 304 people in China. Across the country, there were 2,590 new confirmed infections on Saturday, bringing the total number of infected people to 14,380, according to China’s National Health Commission.
Stricter border controls, along with the suspension of flights and business operations have sparked fears of a slowdown in China, the world’s second-biggest economy. The U.S., Australia, Singapore, and Israel have banned non-citizens from visiting if they have been in China over the previous 14 days.
Meanwhile, Mongolia, Russia, Nepal, and Papua New Guinea have banned entry to anyone from airports across Asia. Other regions have also imposed restrictions on people who have visited the Hubei province in the past 14 days.