Scientists around the world are tracking at least eight strains of coronavirus around the world, using genetic detective work to show how the virus spreads.
Researchers say the virus appears to mutate very slowly, with only tiny differences between the different strains, and that none of the strains of the virus is more deadly than another.
They also say it does not appear the strains will grow more lethal as they evolve.
‘The virus mutates so slowly that the virus strains are fundamentally very similar to each other,’ Charles Chiu, a professor of medicine and infectious disease at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, told USA Today.
However, scientists around the world have been able to compile their genetic sequencing data at NextStrain.org, generating a map that tracks how the deadly virus has raced around the world.
Tracking the different strains of SARS-CoV-2, as the virus is officially named, allows scientists to see whether containment measures are working, by showing whether new cases are from community spread, or imported from a different hotspot.