BERLIN — German virologist Alexander Kekule has said that about 99.5 percent of the coronavirus spreading all over the world right now is a kind of variant mutating in north Italy.

At the Markus Lenz program, aired on Thursday by German public broadcaster ZDF, Kekule said that the virus circulating around the world is called G variant, which has changed its gene and now it is highly possibly more contagious than the Wuhan variant.

Since 1999, Kekule has held the chair for Medical Microbiology and Virology of the University of Halle-Wittenberg and Director of the Institute for Medical Microbiology of the University Clinic Halle.

He said during the interview that at the beginning of this year, an undetected outbreak of the original virus exploded for several weeks in north Italy. Until it was discovered in February, the virus had enough time to optimize in this region, where a more contagious variant has come out.

The virus has spread to the United States and Europe from north Italy, while China has put the virus under control with measures.

The starting point of the pandemic is not in Wuhan, said Kekule, adding that according to the genetic fingerprint, scientists can make sure that 99.5 percent of the virus spreading around the world now can be traced to the virus arising in north Italy.

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