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posted by martyb on Tuesday January 28 2020, @11:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the clearing-the-air dept.

https://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2020/01/27/coronavirus

As the world knows, we face an emerging virus threat in the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. The problem is, right now there are several important things that we don't know about the situation. The mortality rate, the ease of human-human transmission, the rate of mutation of the virus (and how many strains we might be dealing with – all of these need more clarity. Unfortunately, we've already gone past the MERS outbreak in severity (which until now was the most recent new coronavirus to make the jump into humans). If we're fortunate, though, we'll still have something that will be worrisome, but not as bad as (say) the usual flu numbers (many people don't realize that influenza kills tens of thousands of people in the US each year). The worst case, though, is something like 1918, and we really, really don't need that.

[Ed note: The linked story is by Derek Lowe who writes a "commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry". He is perhaps best known for his "Things I Won't Work With" blog entries which are as hilarious as they are... eye opening. I have found him to be a no-nonsense writer who "tells things as they are", holding no punches. The whole story is worth reading as he clearly explains what a coronavirus is, about the current one that reportedly originated in Wuhan, China, what could be done about it, how long that would likely take, and what can be done for those who have already been infected. --martyb]

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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:48AM (3 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @03:48AM (#950447) Journal

    The only reason everything on the planet hasn't already been wiped out by disease is that efficiency in spreading usually involves becoming less lethal.

    On the long run, the best parasite is the one that doesn't kill the host?

    Take the herpes virus as example - still in the 'warts relief, no actual cure' state since forever (HPV and herpes are two different things [healthline.com])

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  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:21AM (2 children)

    by deimtee (3272) on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:21AM (#950472) Journal

    Usually, but there are some pretty wacky parasites out there. Multi-host ones often need to kill the intermediate hosts. For instance that liver fluke one that gets in an ant and makes it climb up a grass stalk and wait to be eaten by a sheep.

    Here's a fun read with nice pictures: https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/body-snatching-parasites/ [nzgeo.com]

    --
    No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
    • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:43AM (1 child)

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 29 2020, @04:43AM (#950490) Journal

      Shit like this is why there are so many atheists in the life sciences. I do not blame them one bit.

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 29 2020, @06:08AM (#950526)

        The curious thing is that God seems to love the pathogens as much as He loves the victims.