The Japanese government says that a man who has been treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new corona virus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The man fell ill in Wuhan earlier this month, and tests this week found the same virus as detected in Wuhan.
Officials in Wuhan said last weekend that 41 people had pneumonia caused by the new virus and a 61-year-old man died in China’s first known death from the virus.
The outbreak comes just before the Lunar New Year when many Chinese travel. Officials say the virus is not considered highly contagious.
Elsewhere, German researchers said on Thursday that they had developed the first diagnostic test for a new virus popping up in central China.
The virus was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan last year and cases have since been reported in Thailand.
Faster diagnostic test made
Dr. Christian Drosten, the director of the Institute of Virology at Charite Hospital in Berlin, said the test developed by his team will enable laboratories to reliably diagnose the so-called new corona virus “in a very short period of time “
The test protocol is being made available through the World Health Organization and laboratories can order a molecule from the German team to compare patient samples with a positive control, he said.
“We have just started receiving orders and are now starting to post the molecule,” Drosten told The Associated Press.
So far, doctors have only been able to perform a general virus test and then have to sequence and interpret the genome, Drosten said. Large, well-equipped public laboratories are capable of doing this, but smaller laboratories would have difficulty with this, he added.
“We are more worried about laboratories in countries where it is not so easy to transport samples or staff that is not so well trained, or if a large number of patients need to be tested,” Drosten said, referring to the epidemic of SARS or severe acute respiratory syndrome, in which hundreds of people died in 2002 and 2003.
Drosten, one of the co-discoverers of SARS, said the two viruses are so closely related that laboratories that have control samples for SARS in stock can use it to diagnose the new virus, thereby shortening the time needed to Functioning test.