SARS-CoV-2 is a new zoonotic coronavirus (CoV) that emerged in Wuhan, China, which was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on 31 December 2019. This coronavirus disease (COVID-19) causes mild to moderate respiratory illness in the majority of patients, but can cause serious complications in the elderly and in those with comorbidities. Poorer resourced countries may not have the capability to equip themselves with complex molecular diagnostic setups. Thus, alternative diagnostic methods maybe crucial to contain outbreaks.
The SARS-CoV-2 is a SARS-related virus with 74.5% genome identity to SARS-CoV. The similarities between these 2 viruses were described comprehensively in a recently published article by Xu et al. For structural proteins, including the nucleocapsid (N), matrix (M), and envelope (E), high within-group conservation was maintained, with more modest similarities seen across the entire CoV family. In contrast, the accessory proteins that distinguish CoV infections from each other have high variability across the family, and allow viruses to adapt to current and novel hosts
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