Which lessons shall we learn from the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak?

Posted On 2020-03-26 09:51:56

Two decades after the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and one decade after the middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS), a new outbreak of respiratory illness sustained by a member of the coronavirus (CoV) family has been first identified in Wuhan (Hubei Province, China), and is rapidly spreading around the world (1,2). The pathogen, temporarily defined 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a positive-sense RNA, 29903-bp betacorona virus, first isolated in the Wuhan seafood market on January 7, 2020 (3), and which is highly homologous to the previous SARS CoV (4). Unlike the other two previous CoV zoonotic diseases caused by SARSCoV and MERS-CoV, transferred from bats to humans through civets and dromedary camels, respectively, it has been recently suggested that snakes may have been the intermediate reservoirs of 2019-nCoV between bats and humans (5). The possibility of human-to-human transmission of 2019-nCoV has been documented (6), whilst it is still unclear whether the pathogen can be transmitted during the incubation period, which is apparently comprised between 2–14 days (7).

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