Was the nightmare back? Many people were asking this topic in the first ten days of this year, after a new strain of pneumonia was discovered in Wuhan, a megacity in central China. The China virus outbreak 2022 brought back memories of SARS, a disease that first appeared in China in 2002 and infected 8098 people in 37 countries before being eradicated in the summer of 2003.
The Wuhan pneumonia cases, like SARS, were linked to a market selling a variety of live animal species, and they appear to be caused by a novel coronavirus closely similar to the SARS virus. China new virus outbreak looked to be withholding information once again. Experts in global health are breathing a sigh of relief today.
Only one of the 42 people known to be sick had died when Science went to press: a 61-year-old man who was already suffering from abdominal tumors and severe liver disease. (SARS had a fatality rate of 9.6%.) There’s no evidence that the virus spreads quickly between humans, which could turn a local issue into a global one. The sequences of six genomes of the as-yet-unnamed virus have now been shared with the rest of the world by Chinese experts.
World Health Organization:
The data has been utilized by scientists in various countries. Based on the sequences supplied by China, the World Health Organization (WHO) plans to publish a diagnostic test for the new virus created by Christian Drosten, a virologist at Charité University Hospital in Berlin, and other researchers.
It recognizes three separate genes from the new coronavirus that are also seen in the SARS virus. “We wanted to utilize SARS as a base since every public health laboratory possesses SARS RNA as a positive reference, so they can get started right away,” Drosten explains, noting that SARS hasn’t been discovered in humans in 15 years.
Many questions remain unanswered. The virus-carrying animal species at the market has yet to be identified by researchers. When it first appeared, and the true number of people afflicted, are both unknown. Meanwhile, a case reported on 13 January in Thailand—in a tourist flying from Wuhan to Bangkok prompted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to contact specialists on epidemic responses.
WHO announced on 14 January that the patient had not visited the Wuhan market at the focus of the outbreak, but had instead visited neighboring animal markets.
On December 8, 2019, the first known patient began to experience symptoms of China virus outbreak 2022, which included trouble breathing and a temperature. On New Year’s Day, officials shut down the fish market, and no new patients have been found in Wuhan since January 3.
The virus was not discovered in 763 affected people’s close contacts or in health-care personnel, who frequently become ill during virus epidemics that can spread between humans. “It’s a little outbreak,” says Xu Jianguo, who heads an evaluation group that advises the Chinese government and manages an infectious disease laboratory at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “It might be over if no new patients show up in the following week.”
Others, on the other hand, were critical of how early information was released. The Wall Street Journal reported on the discovery of a novel coronavirus on January 8, and Xu verified the discovery a few hours later on a state-run television channel. “When The Wall Street Journal reported a SARS-like coronavirus before the Chinese government declared it, that’s not a healthy situation,” Baric says.
On January 10, Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Welcome Trust in London, tweeted his concern over claims that the Chinese government withheld “important public health information” because Chinese researchers wanted to publish their findings first in high-profile publications.
On behalf of a group led by Zhang Yong-Zhen of Fudan University in Shanghai, evolutionary biologist Edward Holmes of the University of Sydney published an “initial” sequence of the novel coronavirus on virological.org less than 12 hours later. The next day, three groups working under China’s National Health Commission released another five China viral outbreak sequences on GISAID, a website primarily used for sharing data on influenza viruses, gathered from different patients.
The six sequences are nearly identical, indicating that they came from the same batch of infected animals at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which also offers birds, snakes, and rabbit meat, according to evolutionary biologist Andrew Rumbaut of the University of Edinburgh. (There have never been any coronaviruses discovered in fish.)
“It makes me worried that whatever the exposure was to, it carried on for quite a long time,” Farrar says, noting that cases appeared over the course of a month, implying that the source was more than one group of animals at one place. The Wuhan outbreak, according to virologist Guan Yi of Hong Kong University, was triggered by several transfers from animal to human hosts “independently and separately “It’s possible that whatever species disseminated the China new virus outbreak at the market got it from a natural reservoir.
Many coronaviruses are found in bats naturally, and the novel virus is related to four bat viruses with surface proteins capable of infecting human cells. Nonetheless, Rumbaut warns that another natural host may exist. “In certain areas of its genome, it’s quite comparable to a bat virus,” he explains, “but not so much in others.”
Limited as the China viral outbreak appears to date, Farrar and others still worry that travel of hundreds of millions of people for the Lunar New Year celebration on 25 January could spread the virus from Wuhan, a major transportation hub, to other cities. “With people, food and animals move,” says Farrar, who suspects that this outbreak “is not going away anytime soon.”