BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Pneumonia Outbreak in China: What You Should Know.

Weeks before the starting of 2020, a mysterious case of pneumonia seemingly caused by a contagious virus broke in Wuhan, China. The outbreak occurred in a local fish market which sold the meat of various exotic animals. The fascinating thing about this strange case is that scientists were unable to link it to previously known about pathogens such as SARS, MERS, or influenza. The true culprit of the spreading infection remained a mystery until scientists were able to analyze the genetic code of what they believed was the virus causing the panic.

A New Coronavirus

On January 10th the DNA Genome of the virus was recorded and scientists were finally able to identify the virus as a pathogen known as a “coronavirus“. Coronaviruses are fairly common and spread all types of illnesses from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS. China and the world at large have actually gotten pretty familiar with handling these types of diseases as a global outbreak of SARS that originated in China occurred in 2003, barely a decade before the emergence of this new coronavirus. Thanks to this SARS outbreak, which infected 8,000 people and killed nearly 800, China has since had a very cautionary culture when it comes to medical issues. It is not uncommon to see people wearing medical masks regularly in public in order to prevent contamination in the highly populated areas of China. One can assume that this culture in China has helped with the current outbreak’s speedy treatment.

Effects and Outcomes

As a result of the spreading of the virus in the seafood supermarket, 59 patients were brought to the hospital, seven of which were in critical condition. It is known that coronaviruses all come from animal to human transmission so it is no surprise that the virus would appear so rapidly in an area where many humans interact with many animals. Since the outbreak, this market has been closed as of January 1st to few’s surprise. However, it is sad to say that the virus has claimed the life of a 61 year old man how seemingly was weak from many other ailments from his old age. While the newfound coronavirus has been proven to be deadly, many medical professionals and The WHO (World Health Organization) say there should be no cause for great concern as the outbreak has seemingly been contained since late December and there are no true prospects of it becoming a world like epidemic like SARS in 2003. Nonetheless, this recent case of pathological disease spreading serves as a reminder of the deadly forces we must all be careful of every day.

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3 Comments

  1. devoxyribonucleicacid

    Really interesting article, dannimal. I think you did a really great job at explaining the origin and information about this new upcoming virus. Given the amount of time that has passed since your article was written, it is evident that this virus has now been spread to several countries. Organizations such as WHO (as you mentioned) are now warning the world and suggesting that they take cautions and measures to help prevent this outbreak. However, I wondered if scientists have come any closer to creating a solution/cure. I found an article (https://hamodia.com/2020/02/27/israeli-researchers-announce/) that thoroughly discusses and elaborates on a study that was done by researches to find a possible solution. The researches said that they had a “scientific breakthrough” in treating the coronavirus. They noticed that the birds they performed the study on had similar patterns on humans. Hopefully from these results, scientists will come closer to some sort of solution to this world outbreak.

  2. brianaryfission

    With the increasingly alarming spread of the coronavirus, the topic of vaccinations also becomes more prevalent. An article on science news talks about the differences between traditional and new ways of making vaccines: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/new-coronavirus-vaccine-development-process-accelerating . Normal vaccines are created by producing debilitated viruses or purifying proteins, but these usually take two to three years. The new method uses computers to figure out which pieces will trigger antibodies then insert it into bacteria and works incredibly fast — in the case of a company Inovio, it took them three hours to design and a month to manufacture. Hopefully the mass manufacture of this vaccine will come soon enough to protect future vulnerable people.

    • tayega

      This is very interesting dannimal. The corona virus has caused so much panic in the media today. It takes little to frighten everyone with how fast information spreads.

      Although people that haven’t traveled into any specific hotspots for the virus due to how much it spreads like you have said there has been three confirmed cases that were infected from an unknown origin. The article is here( https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/02/28/coronavirus-live-updates/). The possibility of the virus being so untraceable that there has been three that hasn’t traveled in a recent timeframe is certainly frightening. People always say that it’s far away until it shows up closer than they thought it would ever get. Definitely important to keep an eye out on the developments

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