Wuhan City coronavirus: an update

Where did the disease come, and how far might it spread?
30 January 2020
Presented by Chris Smith
Production by Chris Smith.

MERS-CoV

Transmission electron microscopic (TEM) image of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was identified in 2012, as the cause of respiratory illness in people.

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An update on the emerging viral infection from Wuhan City, in China: the disease was first picked up by the Chinese in early December and notified to the World Health Organisation at the start of January. The source appears to be a food market in Wuhan City, and the virus itself is a newly-identified member of a viral family called coronaviruses. Coronaviruses do infect humans, but scientists suspect that this one is normally carried by wild animals - possibly bats or, as a paper just published in Beijing speculates - possibly snakes. Bringing these animals to food markets is probably what triggered the outbreak. But how significant is the situation, and how far might the virus spread? Speaking with Chris Smith, Neil Ferguson explains how he tries to answer questions like these at Imperial College, London…

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