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
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