Audio Interview

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak: a current view

Published on March 5, 2020   14 min

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Interviewer: Professor Temte, thank you very much for doing this interview with us about the recent outbreak and the new coronavirus, now called COVID-19. I'm just going to jump right in and ask: why are the world health authorities particularly worried about this strain of coronavirus? Prof Temte: We're concerned about this virus because it is a novel virus, meaning that we have not seen this in human populations before. When that is the case, there is no pre-existing immunity to serve as a check on the widespread nature of this disease. Viruses like this can go throughout the world very, very quickly, because there is no pre-existing immunity to slow it down. I think the other reason that we are concerned about this compared to other viruses that tend to emerge, is that COVID-19 has been associated with a higher than expected mortality rate, now estimated at about 2 to 3%. This is considerably higher than the rate that we're usually used to in human populations. Interviewer: What are some of the main challenges that countries are facing at the moment with the information that we currently have? Is it mainly to do with the fact that humans have no way to fight this, like the other coronaviruses? Prof Temte: Well, coronaviruses are relatively common in humans, there are four seasonal coronaviruses which cause common cold symptoms, in my surveillance studies we see these all the time, but we usually don't worry too much about them. We don't have any vaccines for any of these seasonal coronaviruses and

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak: a current view

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