China coronavirus: Six questions scientists are asking (2020/01/22)

衛生福利部中華民國 109 年 1 月 15 日衛授疾字第 1090100030 號The world is racing to learn more about the outbreak of a new viral infection that was first detected in Wuhan, China, last month and is causing increasing alarm around the world.

As Nature went to press, officials in China had confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the virus, which causes a respiratory illness, and some 100 deaths. Around 50 cases had also been confirmed in other countries, in Asia, the United States and Europe.

China virus: latest news on spreading infection
Researchers fear similarities to the 2002–03 epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which emerged in southern China and killed 774 people in 37 countries. Both are members of a large virus family, called coronaviruses, that also includes viruses responsible for the common cold.

China has taken unprecedented action to try to halt the outbreak — including putting Wuhan and nearby cities on ‘lockdown’, restricting travel in and out of the cities. For now, the World Health Organization (WHO) has held off declaring a public-health emergency of international concern — the agency’s highest level of alarm — after a meeting of officials last week, but that could change.

Author: Ewen CallawayDavid Cyranoski