Deadly Coronavirus Leads To Calls For Coordinated International Investigation By Scientists

Deadly Coronavirus Alert Leads To Calls For Coordinated International Investigation By Scientists

Attempts to track and neuter the deadly coronavirus have led to calls for a coordinated international investigation by scientists to find solutions.

First discovered in Saudia Arabia in September last year by the World Health Organization (WHO) — who called it novel coronavirus or NCoV — the strain has never been seen in humans before.

Related to the family of viruses that cause the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or (SARS), the coronavirus has already killed seven of the 13 people it is known to have infected worldwide. Of these, six have been geo-linked to Saudi Arabia, two in Jordan, and others in Britain and Germany.

In response to the emergency, scientists are being urged to coordinate their efforts to analyze the virus’ potential. Although experts have gathered huge amounts of data about the coronavirus, there is still a lot more to understand.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a professor at the University of Minnesota, told Reuters:

“What we know really concerns me, but what we don’t know really scares me.”

Less than a week after identifying NCov in a Qatari patient at a London hospital last year, scientists at Britain’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) sequenced part of its genome and mapped out a so-called “phylogenetic tree” — akin to family tree — of its links.

In addition, scientific teams in Switzerland, Germany, Japan and elsewhere learned that NCoV may be treatable by medicines similar to the ones used for SARS, which emerged in China in 2002 and killed a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected in 2003.

“Partly because of the way the field has developed post-SARS, we’ve been able to get onto this virus very early,” says Mike Skinner, a coronavirus expert from Imperial College London. “We know what it looks like, we know what family it’s from and we have its complete gene sequence.”

Deadly Coronavirus Leads To Calls For Coordinated International Investigation By Scientists
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