BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Preliminary lab results showed a new-type coronavirus had caused the viral pneumonia in central China's Wuhan, according to Xu Jianguo, a Chinese expert who led a team to evaluate the pathogen test results.
The newly detected coronavirus is different from known human coronavirus species, said Xu, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Laboratory tests on samples from patients found 15 positive results of the new-type coronavirus, and the virus was isolated from one patient's samples, according to Xu.
Six human coronaviruses species have been discovered, four of which only cause mild respiratory symptoms. The rest two are linked to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), respectively.
Xu said that further research will be conducted to better understand the new coronavirus. It may take years for researchers to develop medicines and vaccines.
A total of 59 viral pneumonia cases, with causes unknown previously, were reported in Wuhan by late Sunday, with seven patients in serious condition. Eight patients have been cured of the disease and were discharged from hospital Wednesday, local health authorities said.