A novel coronavirus, designated as 2019-nCoV, emerged in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019. As of January 24, 2020, at least 830 cases had been diagnosed in nine countries: China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Nepal, and the United States. Twenty-six fatalities occurred, mainly in patients who had serious underlying illnesses.1
Although many details of the emergence of this virus — such as its origin and its ability to spread among humans — remain unknown, an increasing number of cases appear to have resulted from human-to-human transmission.
Given the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) outbreak in 2002 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak in 2012,2 2019-nCoV is the third coronavirus to emerge in the human population in the past two decades — an emergence that has put global public health institutions on high alert.
China responded quickly by informing the World Health Organization (WHO) of the outbreak and sharing sequence information with the international community after the discovery of the causative agent. The WHO responded rapidly by …
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