Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Wuhan Corona Virus Plus

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Nature Briefing (1.27.2020) recommended this short video (2m 28s) on the Wuhan corona virus, which highlights key things to know about the outbreak, and how science can help control it.

This interview with structural biologist Rolf Hilgenfield who has been working on corona viruses since the 2002-2003 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Virus) outbreak provides a scientific perspective on the virus.  It is a 4-minute read.

A quote from the interview provides a perspective, one you may find chilling, on the prospects of the development of drugs to treat the most recent outbreak. "And the total number of people infected, if you combine SARS, MERS and this new virus, is under 12,500 people. That’s not a market. The number of cases is too small. Pharmaceutical companies are not interested."

Hilgenfield hopes to get into to Wuhan to work with researchers to test the efficacy of two early stage compounds in infected animals. These are not yet ready for human-use. 

Eleanor Klibanoff (NPR) provides a short history of quarantines, from the bubonic plague to Typhoid  Mary to Ebola. The question for all of us is if we were the public health official in charge of making such a decision would we and for what reason. It is fair to ask whether you'd like to have more information. If so, what information?

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