China’s response to a novel coronavirus stands in stark contrast to the 2002 SARS outbreak response (2020/01/27)

The strengthening of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been a turning point in outbreak responses in the area. This represents very welcome progress and development for global health security and diplomacy.

It is no surprise that 2020 started a new decade with the report of a novel viral coronavirus (2019-nCoV) threat in China. Changes in human behaviors and environmental factors have led to the emergence of over 30 novel infectious diseases in the past three decades, ranging from rotavirus, which causes infantile diarrhea, to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, first described in 2012 (ref. 1). As the human population continues to increase, demand for agricultural land grows, exposing livestock and humans to infections in the wild. Climate change is also modifying the ecosystem and the concentration of animal vectors, and rapid expansion in air traffic, the movement of people across different borders, political instability and conflicts means these new pathogens can easily spread across the world.

Author: John Nkengasong