Coronavirus 2019-nCoV is genetically similar to the SARS variant, which killed more than 750 people from an outbreak that began in 2002, according to Purdue University’s Andrew Mesecar.
Researchers at the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Disease received the genome of the Wuhan coronavirus and analyzed it. Mesecar found that the genome is almost identical to that of the SARS virus, according to a Purdue university press release.
“MERS virus and the SARS virus are more different genetically,” Mesecar said. “But the Wuhan virus is genetically almost identical to the SARS virus and, therefore, it is expected to look and act nearly the same. In another week or two, we’ll be able to begin to see if the virus is mutating.”
Mesecar, the Walther Professor in Cancer Structural Biology and head of the Department of Biochemistry, has previously done genetic work on the SARS and MERS viruses and has successfully developed drug targets for the diseases.