Wuhan Coronavirus Updates

Beebo Brink

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More from the Washington Post:

As families tell of pneumonia-like deaths in Wuhan, some wonder if China virus count is too low

BEIJING — Chen Min was healthy when she and her husband boarded a train from Hankou station in Wuhan at the end of December, headed for a trip to the southern coastal city of Xiamen. When the 65-year-old developed a persistent cough and fever a week later, she assumed it was just a common cold.

But the cold didn’t get better, and the fever didn’t break. So she visited Wuhan Tongji Hospital again and again until she was isolated in the infectious diseases unit on Jan. 15. She was dead within six hours.

Although Chen had all the symptoms of the coronavirus that is spreading across China and beyond, she is not counted on the official list of those who have died as a result of the infection. Her death certificate, which her family showed to The Washington Post, reads “severe pneumonia.”
 

Sid

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Should we panic?

No. The spread of the virus outside China is worrying but not an unexpected development. It increases the likelihood that the World Health Organization will declare the outbreak to be a public health emergency of international concern on Thursday evening. The key concerns are how transmissible this new coronavirus is between people and what proportion become severely ill and end up in hospital. Often viruses that spread easily tend to have a milder impact.
Healthcare workers could be at risk if they unexpectedly came across someone with respiratory symptoms who had travelled to an affected region. Generally, the coronavirus appears to be hitting older people hardest, with few cases in children.
 

OrinB

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Wow!

I was just catching up about what coronovirus (one that looks like a crown under an electron microscope!) and noticed that Wiki had been updatedvery recently. Amazing that they believe this strain orignated in snakes!

The Wuhan strain has been identified as a new/novel strain of β CoV from group 2B with an ~70% genetic similarity to the SARS-CoV, the new strain has been named 2019-nCoV by the WHO [7]. The virus is suspected to have originated from snakes, which were on sale at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.[8]
Further info on page 4 here:
[this is link from reference [8] on the wikipedia page.]

Interesting how many animal viruses ar emaking leaps to humans and even worse, becoming more amenable and adaptable to then becoming able to transfer directly between humans.

Viruses are scary, fascinating and remarkable!
 

Eunoli

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The one case in the US is out here. Bit nervewracking waiting out the incubation period to see if he got anyone else.
 
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Beebo Brink

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I've had a morbid fascination with emerging diseases for several decades. It began when I was living in New York, during the 80s, and I read a short news article about a puzzling cluster of gay men with Karposi's Sarcoma. No one could explain why this happened....
 
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Arilynn

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The one case in the US is out here. Bit nervewracking waiting out the incubation period to see if he got anyone else.
I wonder whether the incubation period is known with certainty. Different strain of the corona virus have different incubation times. I’d also like to know the mutation rate and emergence time for this particular strain.

I hope China is allowing complete transparency with the wider scientific community.
 
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Arilynn

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Viruses are scary, fascinating and remarkable!
This will sound weird, but that has never stopped me: If I think too long about viruses, I get creeped out and lost in my head. The mere existence of these little self-replicating (with our help!) factories would be the stuff of nightmares if we could actually see them. Are they alive? Did they come into existence by just by the joining of nucleic acids, and, if so, how did they go from being strands of genetic material to the infectious agents we know now? Very strange. (Prions seem to be on a parallel track, thankfully running on slow evolutionary time. They are creepy and mysterious as well.)
 

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This will sound weird, but that has never stopped me: If I think too long about viruses, I get creeped out and lost in my head. The mere existence of these little self-replicating (with our help!) factories would be the stuff of nightmares if we could actually see them. Are they alive? Did they come into existence by just by the joining of nucleic acids, and, if so, how did they go from being strands of genetic material to the infectious agents we know now? Very strange. (Prions seem to be on a parallel track, thankfully running on slow evolutionary time. They are creepy and mysterious as well.)
I had lectures on Virology... you would not believe how well we are protected against microorganisms and viruses, the really effective ones are usually only those that trick and abuse our protective system itself. Those are the ones we get sick from and those are naturally the ones we concentrate our research on - believe me , you get infected a 1000 times a day and you body does not even notice, your immune system's killing machinery handled most of it before it even started producing more of those fitting antibodies.

... prions on the other hands is just thermodynamics - and that is creepy both for the math involved in understanding it and in the fact that we are plain helpless when fighting the laws of physics - everything that will make it unfold/refold would kill you and we are miles away from custom enzymes tailored to destroy the prions (maybe we alreads have some quite effective ones coded in our genes though - for prions we don't notice as evolution provided us with a protein garbage collector*).

*which is a good analogy - cell biology is about as messy as JAVA programming
 
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Rose Karuna

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Right now I'm reading "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston. It's terrifying and sadly real.

The Hot Zone - Wikipedia

I read horror an sci-fi all the time but I could only read this book in short spurts because I can visualize so well and the visualizations were horrible and I knew they were things that happened to real people.

Viruses like Wuhan scare the hell out of me. I take immune suppression drugs and it's so easy to catch something.
 

Archer

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Being the skeptic I am, I have to wonder if China is being completely truthful here. Cancelling New Year festivities in Beijing, completely isolating large cities? This sounds a lot bigger than what their infection and fatality numbers would suggest. China is not known for transparency to the rest of the world.
 

OrinB

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There has been anecdotal evidence in a few interviews that many fever like infections from last summer onwards could have been attributed to this virus if they'd know of it's existence. Remember this is a new strain, so i think ANY country would be wary of all the scrutiny the WHO and other countries were pressing on them for info etc.

I personally, would take any countries info in a crisis like this with a pinch of salt as being slightly on the cagey side, not wanting to incriminate themselves or any of their scientists at such an early developmental stage of an emerging disease.
 

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Ah, the famous conspiracy theories. :rolleyes:

Viruses follow the rules of evolution. Because their generations are short lived, they evolve quicker than the larger species like oak trees and monkeys. No scientists or conspiracy needed.
And besides all that, thousands and thousands of people die every year because of (complications of) the influenza viruses. Nobody panics about that.

Yes, it has to be monitored carefully, but no reason to over react.
But, it has to be judged with the right perspective.

Planet earth always has been a hostile environment. The moment you are born, it is certain you will die.
 

Beebo Brink

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Arilynn

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I had lectures on Virology... you would not believe how well we are protected against microorganisms and viruses, the really effective ones are usually only those that trick and abuse our protective system itself. Those are the ones we get sick from and those are naturally the ones we concentrate our research on - believe me , you get infected a 1000 times a day and you body does not even notice, your immune system's killing machinery handled most of it before it even started producing more of those fitting antibodies.

... prions on the other hands is just thermodynamics - and that is creepy both for the math involved in understanding it and in the fact that we are plain helpless when fighting the laws of physics - everything that will make it unfold/refold would kill you and we are miles away from custom enzymes tailored to destroy the prions (maybe we alreads have some quite effective ones coded in our genes though - for prions we don't notice as evolution provided us with a protein garbage collector*).

*which is a good analogy - cell biology is about as messy as JAVA programming
When I said they had parallel development, I meant that at one point the precursors to viruses were just bits of nucleic acid and the precursors to prions were bits of amino acids. Proteins misfold all the time, and stray bits of nucleic acids are everywhere, due to errant transcription/translation, our immune system, and apoptosis. At one point, those strands of genetic material became, in a sense, weaponized, as did the misfolded proteins. That these bits of RNA/DNA evolved mechanisms to avoid host defenses and use host material to replicate is wild to me, as is the notion that a misfolded protein can induce it’s nondisease-form to rearrange into a prion and cause disease.
 

OrinB

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