Recent scientific tests are starting to reveal more about the coronavirus, known technically as COVID-19, including one recent discovery: that the virus has at least 40 mutations. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the world, scientists are scrambling to discover as much information as they can that could help to slow the spread of the deadly pathogen. Now, with evidence that the coronavirus mutates, they are hoping that they can learn more through studying the virus’ genes – perhaps eventually helping to find a future treatment. But what does it mean for a virus to mutate, and why does it matter? Here is everything you need to know. Mutations in coronavirus: Evidence Evidence that the coronavirus mutates was brought to attention back in late February by Christian Drosten, the head of the Institute of Virology at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. Drosten studied a

The United States gained a grim distinction in the world this week when it officially overtook Italy and China as the country with the most confirmed cases of Covid-19. Time is not on our side in the fight against this sweeping pandemic. As physicians, nurses, and the entire health care community work courageously to turn the tide against Covid-19, our singular goal is to save as many lives as possible. In suggesting that people could begin returning to their normal routines around Easter, President Trump has set up a false choice by pitting the health and safety of the American people against the economy. The choice we face in this crucial moment is not between public health and the economy. The choice is between listening to science and saving lives or ignoring science and losing lives. The choice is between working together across the country to defeat this virus or letting it kill our grandparents, parents, and

With Europe and the United States locked in deadly battle with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, a number of countries that were hit early by the virus are doing a far better job of beating it back. China, which is now diagnosing more cases in returning travelers than in people infected at home, reported no new domestically acquired cases on Wednesday, for the first time in more than two months. South Korea, which had an explosive outbreak that began in February, is aggressively battering down its epidemic curve. Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan have together reported only about 600 cases. Those successes have been bought by a layering of what are known as non-pharmaceutical initiatives — including social distancing and travel restrictions — aimed at severing chains of transmission to keep the virus from going into an exponential growth cycle. None of the other countries has been

In the summer of 2014, as I was preparing to fly to West Africa as an emergency responder to the largest Ebola outbreak in history, I sat in my room consumed with fear. I felt like a kid again, standing on the high dive for the very first time, about to plunge into the pool far below. And while that fear dissipated somewhat over the coming weeks as I worked with Liberian and international colleagues to launch a new Ebola treatment center in Bong County, Liberia, it never went away entirely. My experiences in Liberia taught me that courage is not the absence of fear — it is doing what you know you must even when you are terrified. Hundreds of thousands of health workers across the United States and the world are learning that same lesson, or will quite soon. Courage alone won’t be enough. You will also need to take care of yourselves — and each other — to make it through the Covid-19 pandemic. First

NEW YORK • The coronavirus is now infecting people at a faster pace: It took three months for the first 100,000 cases, but only 12 days for the next 100,000 on Wednesday, said the World Health Organisation. By yesterday, the global tally had gone up by more than 50,000 to surpass 250,000 cases. If the coronavirus is allowed to spread unchecked, millions of people could die from it, particularly in poor countries, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned, appealing for a coordinated global response to the pandemic. "If we let the virus spread like wildfire - especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world - it would kill millions of people," he said on Thursday. "Global solidarity is not only a moral imperative, it is in everyone's interests." He stressed the need for a coordinated global response to contain a "health catastrophe" that has now claimed the lives of more than 10,400 people around

Cercetătorii științifici din Centrul de Cercetare Științifică pentru Apărare CBRN și Ecologie din cadrul Agenției de Cercetare pentru Tehnică și Tehnologii Militare (ACTTM) au realizat, într-un timp record, un Sistem de evacuare a personalului contaminat cu agenți biologici – BIOEVAC (tip izoletă). Echipamentul asigură izolarea temporară și transportul în siguranță al personalului suspect sau confirmat a fi contaminat cu agenți biologici, inclusiv SARS-CoV-2, și este dotat cu un sistem de filtro-ventilație cu presiune negativă. Produsul dezvoltat de cercetătorii militari îndeplinește standardele de securitate pentru prevenirea riscurilor de contaminare în zona de izolare și pe traseul de transport al persoanei infestate. Prototipul a fost finalizat în data de 16 martie, fiind realizat în colaborare cu operatorul economic STIMPEX SA, specializat în în producția de echipamente de protecție CBRN, care a pus la dispoziția echipei de

The current coronavirus disease, Covid-19, has been called a once-in-a-century pandemic. But it may also be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco. At a time when everyone needs better information, from disease modelers and governments to people quarantined or just social distancing, we lack reliable evidence on how many people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 or who continue to become infected. Better information is needed to guide decisions and actions of monumental significance and to monitor their impact. Draconian countermeasures have been adopted in many countries. If the pandemic dissipates — either on its own or because of these measures — short-term extreme social distancing and lockdowns may be bearable. How long, though, should measures like these be continued if the pandemic churns across the globe unabated? How can policymakers tell if they are doing

As the Covid-19 pandemic takes an ever-larger toll across the world, researchers are expanding their understanding of who is at greatest risk of infection, serious illness, and death, detailed information that earlier had been reported only by China, where the outbreak began late last year. In general, the U.S. experience largely mimics China’s, with the risk for serious disease and death from Covid-19 rising with age. But in an important qualification, an analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Wednesday underlines a message that infectious disease experts have been emphasizing: Millennials are not invincible. The new data show that up to one-fifth of infected people ages 20-44 have been hospitalized, including 2%-4% who required treatment in an intensive care unit. Still, the most severe cases, and the highest rates of death, are among the elderly. Although

When a new virus blasts out of the animals that harbored it and into people, experts can usually say, thank goodness it’s not like measles. That virus is more contagious than any others known to science: Each case of measles causes an astronomical 12 to 18 new cases, compared to about six for polio, smallpox, and rubella. Each case of the new coronavirus is estimated to cause two to three others. The reason the measles is so, well, viral, is that the microbe is so small and hardy that it is able to stay suspended in the air where an infected person coughed or sneezed for up to two hours, making it one of the only viruses that can exist as a true aerosol. Now there are conflicting reports on whether the new coronavirus can. The studies suggesting that it can be aerosolized are only preliminary, and other research contradicts it, finding no aerosolized coronavirus particles in the hospital rooms of Covid-19

Viruses didn’t become ubiquitous by being wimps: From the rhinoviruses that cause the common cold to the new coronavirus that has spread across the world, they are able to survive on surfaces far away from the living cells that they need in order to reproduce. How long they can lurk before a living organism comes along to infect depends on the kind of surface and the properties of the virus: The Covid-19 virus, according to a new study, sticks around on plastic surfaces for up to three days, but for a shorter period on metals. Rhinoviruses can survive on human skin for hours, which is why shaking hands with someone who has a cold is a good way to catch it. Influenza viruses remain infectious for up to 48 hours after landing on nonporous surfaces such as stainless steel or plastic such as that in computer keyboards, but that seems like the outer limit: A 2011 study found that the H1N1 flu virus that caused the 2009

In a rare piece of good news about Covid-19, a team of infectious disease experts calculates that the fatality rate in people who have symptoms of the disease caused by the new coronavirus is about 1.4%. Although that estimate applies specifically to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, and is based on data from there, it offers a guide to the rest of the world, where many countries might see even lower death rates. The new figure is significantly below earlier estimates of 2% or 3% and well below the death rate for China based on simply dividing deaths by cases, which yields almost 4%. While it is still higher than the average 0.1% death rate from seasonal flu, it raises hopes that the worst consequence of the coronavirus will be uncommon. Cutting against that optimism is the expectation that, because no one was immune to the new virus, “the majority of the population will be

Institutul Naţional de Cercetare-Dezvoltare Medico-Militară “Cantacuzino” a primit invitaţia de la Organizaţia Mondială a Sănătăţii şi va participa, prin Laboratorul Infecţii Respiratorii Virale, în perioada aprilie – iulie, alături de prestigioase laboratoare din lume, la controlul extern de calitate al testelor efectuate pentru identificarea noului coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, informează instituţia pe pagina sa de Facebook. “În funcţie de rezultate, Laboratorul Infecţii Respiratorii Virale, certificat de către Organizaţia Mondială a Sănătăţii ca fiind Centru Naţional de Referinţă pentru gripă în România, va putea primi aceeaşi certificare şi pentru noul coronavirus SARS-CoV-2”, precizează sursa citată.

Chunyan Wang, Wentao Li, Dubravka Drabek, Nisreen M.A. Okba, Rien van Haperen, Albert D.M.E. Osterhaus, Frank J.M. van Kuppeveld, Bart L. Haagmans, Frank Grosveld, Berend-Jan Bosch

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.11.987958

This article is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review.

Abstract

The emergence of the novel human coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China has caused a worldwide epidemic of respiratory disease

For many countries staring down fast-rising coronavirus case counts, the race is on to “flatten the curve.” The United States and other countries, experts say, are likely to be hit by tsunamis of Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks without aggressive public health responses. But by taking certain steps — canceling large public gatherings, for instance, and encouraging some people to restrict their contact with others — governments have a shot at stamping out new chains of transmission, while also trying to mitigate the damage of the spread that isn’t under control. The epidemic curve, a statistical chart used to visualize when and at what speed new cases are reported, could be flattened, rather than being allowed to rise exponentially. “If you look at the curves of outbreaks, they go big peaks, and then come down. What we need to do is flatten that down,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of

Canadian firm says it could make 10 million doses per month — if its innovative production method wins FDA approval. A Canadian company says that it has produced a COVID-19 vaccine just 20 days after receiving the coronavirus’s genetic sequence, using a unique technology that they soon hope to submit for FDA approval. Medicago CEO Bruce Clark said his company could produce as many as 10 million doses a month. If regulatory hurdles can be cleared, he said in a Thursday interview, the vaccine could start to become available in November. An Israeli research lab has also claimed to have created a vaccine. But Clark says his company’s technique, which has already been proven effective in producing vaccines for seasonal flu, is more reliable and easier to scale. “There are a couple of others who are claiming that they have — well,

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