Chinese Say Unlikely Possible New Coronavirus Spread Through Human-To-Human Contact; Discovery Raises Questions On Epidemic Preparedness

Devex: Possible new coronavirus raises questions on epidemic preparedness
“Chinese authorities have reported there is no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission linked to the new coronavirus found in patients suffering pneumonia-like symptoms in Wuhan province. But experts argue it’s too early to rule out the possibility. … [The WHO] said China’s ability to preliminarily identify a novel virus in a short span of time is notable and shows the country’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks. … However, not all countries may have the capacity to respond and manage such an outbreak, if it leaks outside China…” (Ravelo, 1/10).

The Telegraph: Have Chinese researchers uncovered the new disease X?
“…So far, just six coronaviruses have ever been identified in humans so an emerging one is an intriguing — and worrying — prospect. … For the moment, information on the new virus in China is limited. Only preliminary tests have been carried out on 15 patients and Professor David Heymann, an infectious disease expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says that this mysterious pneumonia might not even be a coronavirus. Testing could have picked up a background virus that is circulating in the population but that is not causing any symptoms. What is clear is that the new disease does not yet appear to be easily spreading. And crucially health workers — the most vulnerable in any new infectious disease outbreak — have not been infected…” (Gulland, 1/9).

Additional coverage of the outbreak is available from Bloomberg, CBC, The Guardian, The Hill, MedPage Today, Science, STAT, The Telegraph, and VOA.