China Reports First Death From Newly Identified Coronavirus As Scientists, Officials Continue To Study Virus, Prevent Spread

New York Times: China Reports First Death From New Virus
“Chinese state media on Saturday reported the first known death from a new virus that has infected dozens of people in China and set off worries across Asia. The Xinhua news agency cited the health commission in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the illness first appeared, in reporting the death. The health commission said the patient, a 61-year-old man, died on Thursday night…” (Qin et al., 1/10).

Reuters: Chinese woman with mystery virus quarantined in Thailand
“A Chinese woman has been quarantined in Thailand with a mystery strain of coronavirus, authorities said on Monday, the first time it has been detected outside China…” (Thepgumpanat et al., 1/13).

Science: Mystery virus found in Wuhan resembles bat viruses but not SARS, Chinese scientist says
“…In an interview [Friday] with Science, Xu Jianguo, head of an evaluation committee advising the Chinese government, confirmed that scientists have a complete sequence of the novel virus’s genome. … Xu also said the novel coronavirus resembles known bat viruses, but not the coronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)…” (Normile, 1/10).

Wall Street Journal: SARS Experience Guides China’s Effort to Contain New Virus
“…Dr. Kwok Yung Yuen, a physician and chair of infectious diseases at the University of Hong Kong, said that finding the new strain within a month of the first case on Dec. 12 was impressive. … The finding also drew praise from the World Health Organization, whose China office said the country now has strong public-health resources and a comprehensive system for monitoring illness outbreaks. Wuhan has China’s first Biosafety Level 4 laboratory, a specialized research laboratory that deals with potentially deadly infectious agents like Ebola…” (Wang/Yang, 1/10).

Wall Street Journal: Virus in China Is Part of a Growing Threat
“…Seven strains [of coronaviruses] are known to infect humans, including the virus in Wuhan, causing illnesses in the respiratory tract. Four of those strains cause common colds. Two others, by contrast, rank among the deadliest of human infections: severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, and Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. Named for crown-like spikes on their surfaces, coronaviruses mutate rapidly, essentially making mistakes easily as they copy their genome to produce offspring…” (McKay, 1/10).

Additional coverage of the Wuhan outbreak is available from CIDRAP News, NBC, NPR, Reuters (2), ScienceNews, Science Speaks, Vox, and Xinhua.

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