Known amongst scientists as 2019-nCoV, this respiratory virus first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has now reported over 17488 worldwide cases with a death toll of 362. With no signs of slowing down, the virus is on track to overtake SARS with confirmed patients being reported globally.
While scientists are scrambling to find out its precise origins, published research dating back to the bat origin of Coronaviruses suggests that warnings about the coronavirus on the rise had always been there. It needs to be emphasised that the term “coronavirus” refers to a group of viruses, not one unique strain, yet the origins appear to be closely interlinked. As to how exactly the respiratory syndrome was transmitted from bats to humans, there appears to be much speculation, though previously published research states that two mutations were critical for bat to human transmission of respiratory coronaviruses.
Coronavirus: How worried should we be?
The Wuhan virus is not as deadly as SARS, and nowhere near as deadly as a true pandemic like the Spanish Flu, and yet may end up resulting in more casualties than the former.
Damage Control & Vaccination
Following W.H.O’s declaration, countries are now deciding without restriction whether to close their borders, cancel flights, screen people arriving at airports or take other measures. In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, 2 new hospitals are being built within days in Wuhan for the treatment of coronavirus patients and evaluate potentially contaminated.
A team of Australian scientists have managed to developed a lab-grown version of the coronavirus, (a first recreation outside China) and samples are expected be distributed to the World Health Organization and laboratories around the world. There is however much debate over the Phase 1 trial with some pharmaceuticals and research centres saying it could be anything between 3-12 months.
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