Efrem Lim, ASU Biodesign Institute (IMAGE) Arizona State University Caption 'One of the reasons why this mutation is of interest is because it mirrors a large deletion that arose in the 2003 SARS outbreak,' said Lim, an assistant professor at ASU's Biodesign Institute. During the middle and late phases of the SARS epidemic, SARS-CoV accumulated mutations that attenuated the virus. Scientists believe that a weakened virus that causes less severe disease may have a selective advantage if it is able to spread efficiently through populations by people who are infected unknowingly. Credit ASU Biodesign Institute Usage Restrictions None License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.