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Coronavirus 'more similar to flu than other viruses'

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The coronavirus behaves much more like influenza than other closely related viruses, said scientists in China who studied nose and throat swabs from 18 patients.

This suggests that it may spread even more easily than previously believed.

In at least one case, the virus was present despite the patient having no symptoms, confirming concerns that asymptomatic patients can spread the disease.

Although preliminary, the findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine offer new evidence that Covid-19 is not like its closely related coronavirus cousins such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars).

Covid-19 appears to inhabit both the upper and lower respiratory tracts, which would make it capable of not only causing severe pneumonia, but also spreading easily like flu or the common cold.

Meanwhile, a 36-year-old Chinese national work pass holder with no recent travel history to China was the only confirmed infection in Singapore yesterday. - XINHUA, REUTERS

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