Audio Interview

COVID-19 epidemiology and potential treatments: follow up interview

Published on April 20, 2020   16 min

Other Talks in the Series: Research and Clinical Interviews

Interviewer: Professor Baric, many thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us today to update us on the world-wide ongoing SARS-2 COVID-19 outbreak. Let me start by returning to what we were discussing a couple of weeks ago, when we were saying that the mortality rate is clearly above 1%. Do we have any better estimates of what the mortality rate is today globally for this virus? Prof. Baric: It's still a difficult question to determine the exact mortality rate. If you do the straight math in terms of the number of cases reported versus the number of deaths reported, it's about 3%. Unfortunately, we don't really know what the denominator is, there have been several reports now based on serology results that suggest that about half the people who are actually infected with virus show no symptoms. Another percentage of individuals infected with the virus have very mild symptoms and probably don't get tested. So without a clear picture of exactly what the denominator is, the exact mortality rate is not clear. Perhaps one of the best measures of the mortality rate is from the cruise ship that was in Japan. The mortality rate on that cruise ship was about 0.8-0.9%. Interviewer: You talk of the unknown denominator there. There was a study from Oxford a few weeks back now that suggested many more people may have been infected than is still currently thought. Do you think this might be the case, and what does it imply about the virus? Prof. Baric: A lot of the modeling data predicts that there are probably close to 10 times more infections that have actually been reported, rather than the 50% asymptomatic rate that I just quoted.

COVID-19 epidemiology and potential treatments: follow up interview

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