Scientists in Australia have become the first to be able to synthesize a new coronavirus in the laboratory outside of China, in what they describe as a "significant breakthrough."
Scientists will share their discovery with the World Health Organization, in the hope that it will assist in efforts to diagnose and treat HIV.
Scientists in China have also found a re-synthesis of the virus, sharing their genome chain (i.e. DNA) with others, but they have not seen them on the virus itself.
The spread of the virus has so far killed 132 people in China, and infected nearly 6,000.
There are at least 47 confirmed cases in 16 other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, France, the United States, and Australia. There were no reports of any deaths outside China.
Researchers at a private laboratory in the Australian city of Melbourne said they had been able to develop a copy of the virus from a patient with it. The sample of the virus was sent to them last Friday.
"We have been planning an accident similar to what happened years and years ago, so we were able to quickly find it," said Dr. Mike Caton, of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunology.
Hope for a "change"
Doctors said the synthetic version could be used in a "controlled trial" test, and would "be an important change in the diagnosis."
This experiment may include an early diagnostic test, in which the virus can be detected in people without symptoms.
The Chinese authorities said that the virus, similar to that of the common flu, was able to spread during its incubation period.
But the WHO said it was not clear if the virus was contagious even before symptoms appeared.
Dr. Caton said: "The antibody test will enable us to examine the suspected patients retrospectively, so we can collect the parts of the image more precisely, know the extent of the virus, and then find out the mortality rate, and other things."
"This will help us assess the effectiveness of the tested vaccines."
According to the World Health Organization, the incubation period for the virus may range from two to 10 days.
Over the past few days, the number of HIV cases has jumped rapidly, although the authorities are striving to limit its spread.
The Chinese authorities have taken extensive and effective measures to close down the city of Wuhan in Hubei, where the virus originated, and other surrounding cities.