What is happening in China?
After the Chinese government held a press conference revealing the statistics about the new virus, we have the following information:
- The virus is called 2019-nCoV and is a member of the family coronaviridae, which is a large family of viruses called so because their shape by the electron microscope looks as if they have a “crown” or a “solar corona” of surface projections. This family has been incriminated recently for the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS, a disease that killed more than 700 people worldwide during an outbreak in 2003.
- As of the time of writing of this article -the 26th of January 2020-, 1975 cases have been confirmed to be infected with the virus in China, 57 of whom have died.
- China is currently placing an embargo around the district of Wuhan, the birthplace of the new virus and building two new hospitals with a capacity of 2300 beds to be finished and ready to receive patients within 2 weeks.
- Until now, no vaccines were developed and are safe for human use.
- Reports of infected cases have been confirmed in Hong Kong, Australia, France, The United Kingdom, Thailand and six other countries in South-East and East Asia.
- Recent studies show that the virus originated in snakes and underwent a mutation that allowed it to infect humans through ingestion in the exotic food markets of Wuhan.
- Whether this virus is able to cause a pandemic is not yet confirmed, since the studies confirming its transmission by human-to-human contact are still lacking.