nCOV situation: 25 January 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

nCOV situation: 25 January 2020

Welcome to this special issue of the newsletter where we highlight latest research and policy news and literature on nCVO situation

Please send your feedback, articles and reports, or questions you would like to share to Dr. Chadia Wannous via email  

Wishing you useful reading!


nCOV Outbreak Situation

China sends in military doctors to help Wuhan hospitals fight coronavirus outbreak

  • Central military command orders PLA medical personnel based in the city to help civilian doctors and nurses
  • 40 doctors already working in the intensive care unit of Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital and more to follow
Full statement on the meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

What Do You Need to Know About Wuhan Coronavirus

China's nCoV total tops 900 as outbreak expands to France
Also, Vietnam reports person-to-person spread as more locations confirm cases.
More »

With new nCoV case in Chicago, US says no travel to Wuhan
A woman in Chicago becomes the 2nd imported US case of the novel coronavirus.
More »

Studies highlight nCoV similarity with SARS, family transmission
A study of Wuhan's earliest cases details serious SARS-like symptoms and a 15% death rate.
More »

Snakes probably aren’t source of China virus
Researchers seeking the intermediate host for a new respiratory virus in Wuhan, China, have cast doubt on the suggestion that it might be a snake. Chinese scientists published a genetic analysis this week suggesting that Bungarus multicinctus (the many-banded krait) or Naja atra (the Chinese cobra) passed the virus to humans from its unknown animal reservoir. Other scientists say it’s unlikely that 2019-nCoV, as the virus is known, has infected any secondary animal host for long enough to leave a clue in its genome, and there’s no consistent evidence of coronaviruses in hosts other than mammals and birds.
Along with its origins, scientists are racing to answer questions such as how deadly 2019-nCoV is, how it spreads and possible treatments.
Learn more about five urgent questions facing researchers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided against declaring the outbreak a global health emergency. “At this time there is no evidence of human-to-human transmission outside China," said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "That doesn't mean it won't happen.”
Nature | 4 min read (snakes) & Nature | 5 min read (five questions) & Nature | 6 min read (continuously updated with news about the Wuhan respiratory illness)
VIDEO: Some viruses spread faster than others, but why?
Watch on

Geographical distribution of 2019-nCov cases
Precautions are in place. Now U.S. hospitals and states ready for more cases of novel virus from China.
Even though this is a new virus, health officials said this was the type of situation they anticipated. They’ve prepared before for other emerging infectious diseases, including Zika and Ebola, as well as other coronaviruses like SARS and MERS. For this current outbreak, federal health officials have already issued recommendations for surveillance, testing, and care of patients, and hospitals have been following those guidelines.
CDC confirms second US case of coronavirus and is monitoring 63 other possible infections
U.S. health officials said they diagnosed a second patient with the China coronavirus after a Chicago woman returned from Wuhan with the infection, and they are currently monitoring 63 other potential cases here.
China Halts Transportation Out Of Wuhan To Contain Coronavirus. Could It Backfire?
Just a few months ago, Tom Inglesby helped gather top officials from governments, businesses and health organizations around the world to play a kind of war game. "It was a scenario looking at global consequences of a major new epidemic," says Inglesby, who directs the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University.
Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China
A recent cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel betacoronavirus, the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We report the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics and treatment and clinical outcomes of these patients.
A familial cluster of pneumonia associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus indicating person-to-person transmission: a study of a family cluster (Lancet)
An ongoing outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel coronavirus was reported in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China. Affected patients were geographically linked with a local wet market as a potential source. No data on person-to-person or nosocomial transmission have been published to date.
China sends in military doctors to help Wuhan hospitals fight coronavirus outbreak
China is mobilising its military doctors to help to contain the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, state media reported on Friday.
Detection of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) by real-time RT-PCR separator commenting unavailable
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown aetiology in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, on 31 December 2019.

WHO decision on nCoV emergency delayed as cases spike
The emergency committee holds off on declaring a public health emergency of international concern. a critical piece of information experts are looking for is how many human-to-human cases have occurred and in what context. So far, some illnesses have been reported in close family contacts and in healthcare workers, which is common for respiratory viruses. WHO officials also said today that genetic sequences so far show that the virus is stable. Tedros added, "But we have to be very cautious and assess this critically. Significant changes can happen any time."
See also:
Jan 22 WHO statement on emergency committee deliberations
Jan 22 WHO media briefing on Facebook
Jan 22 Imperial College London report
Jan 22 China CDC update
Chinese medical community (DXY) 2019-nCoV tracking website
Jan 22 FluTrackers post on Hubei province cases
Jan 22 Hong Kong CHP statement
Jan 23 Hong Kong CHP statement
Jan 23 AFD post on two new Thai cases
Jan 22 China Daily tweet
Jan 22 UK government statement

Researchers trace coronavirus outbreak in China to snakes
By conducting a detailed genetic analysis of the virus and comparing it with available genetic information on different viruses from various geographic locations and host species, the investigators concluded that the 2019-nCoV appears to be a virus that formed from a combination of a coronavirus found in bats and another coronavirus of unknown origin.
The team uncovered evidence that the 2019-nCoV likely resided in snakes before being transmitted to humans. Recombination within the viral receptor-binding protein may have allowed for cross-species transmission from snake to humans.
Genomic and protein structure modelling analysis depicts the origin and infectivity of 2019-nCoV, a new coronavirus which caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, China Detailed genomic and structure-based analysis of a new coronavirus, namely 2019-nCoV, showed that the new virus is a new type of bat coronavirus and is genetically fairly distant from the human SARS coronavirus.
nCoV’s relationship to bat coronaviruses & recombination signals
With Xiaowei Jiang at XJTLU we’ve carried out a preliminary evolutionary analysis to characterise the evolutionary origins of the Wuhan virus, nCoV. Focus of our analysis is on the Wuhan-Hu-1 virus (accession no. MN908947, released on GenBank by Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center and School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China) as all nCoV cluster together so will share the same evolutionary ancestry. It’s clear from phylogenetic analysis the new human virus is most closely related to bat coronaviruses in the Betacoronaviruses genera.
The world is better prepared than ever to stop the Wuhan coronavirus
But its true dangers will not be known for some time

US detects first novel coronavirus case, in traveler

New virus spreading across Asia
A respiratory illness that appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December hasspread to other cities in China and to South Korea, Thailand and Japan. With millions of people in China travelling to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday this weekend, health researchers worry that infections will only increase. The illness probably originated in a Wuhan animal market, but human-to-human transmission is also occurring. The revelation yesterday that health-care workers have been infected, considered a litmus test for a pathogen’s ability to spread between people, suggests that the Wuhan virus is more contagious than previously thought.
Nature | 4 min read & Nature | 4 min read
Stop the Wuhan Virus
Vigilance, preparedness, speed, transparency and global coordination are now crucial to stopping a new infectious disease from becoming a global emergency. As hundreds of millions of people in China take to the roads, railway and skies to be with their families for the new year holidays, authorities in the country and around the world have mounted an enormous operation to track and screen travelers from Wuhan in central China.
Factbox: Major severe coronavirus outbreaks in the past 20 years
Appetite for 'warm meat' drives risk of disease in Hong Kong and China

Should we be worried about the new Wuhan coronavirus?
The coronavirus outbreak is not yet a global health emergency, WHO says
EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak speaks with Vox about the latest updates as the number of people infected climbs over 600.
Read More
The rapid detection and identification of the 2019-nCoV underscores how much progress has been made since the early days of SARS, but gaps remain. We have selected 10 relevant articles from Health Security on coronaviruses, outbreak preparedness and response, infection control, and public health policy; these articles will be freely available through February 29, 2020 to facilitate the conversation around health security. We hope these pieces will serve as resources for the community as it works to ensure that the 2019-nCoV outbreak is fully understood and contained.
Read and share these important articles today.

Gilead assessing potential use of Ebola drug as China virus treatment



Knowledge Sharing

Thank you for reading. If you have thoughts, feedback, story ideas, or questions you would like to share or interested in partnering with us on a special event coverage, please send a note to Chadia Wannous via email  


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