I found this information about the phylogenetic tree of Covid-19 very interesting, in part, due to how rapidly this virus mutates.
Note that this tree was constructed with shared contributed information from just 333 samples, and that as of today, we know of 126,000+ confirmed cases, meaning that there are assuredly many more and this tree is a bare bones structure.
This tree and additional information can be viewed in various ways on this site.
Imagine how vast this tree would look if we could see the entire branching tree structure. This also explains the phenomenon of rapid viral mutation to either more or less virulent strains, and why “next year’s” vaccine will only be partially effective against a strain that was prevalent a few months earlier.
Let’s talk about mutations for a minute. We look at trees like this for the history of mankind or womankind over tens of thousands of years, not a 9 or 10 week timeline in the evolution of a virus.
If you look at that orange branch at about 5 o’clock, you can easily imagine that branch mutating to be nearly harmless, and the red branch at about 2 o’clock mutating to be even more deadly. It would be some time until we discovered that the different tree branches were behaving in different ways, and then even longer to determine how to harvest that information and distill it to be useful for prevention or cure.
I also found it very interesting to view the source of the various viral strains in the Americas on a GIS map.
The strain in western Canada originated in Iran, as did the strain in New Zealand and one in Australia. Of course, the Iranian line originally came from China. Some infections in Australia came directly from China, as did most of the European pockets. South America and Mexico both arrived from Italy, as did many of the UK infections, although some appear to have passed through the Netherlands and Belgium first.
If you ever had any doubt in your mind about world being high interconnected, this should remove any question.
Take a few minutes and look at all of the informational options on this website. It’s wonderfully cool and is not limited to this outbreak.
Keep yourself safe. Wash, limit social contact and hey, do some genealogy!
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