Hi, welcome to our blog on novel SARS and the current pandemic. Please read our Mission Statement here to learn more about us and the purpose of this blog. 

Today is May 20th, 2020, and this outbreak began approximately five months ago in Wuhan, China. Based on our research: 

  • Novel SARS, or SARS-CoV-2, is a betacoronavirus about 80% similar to ‘SARS classic,’ or SARS-CoV [1]. 
  • The infection caused by this virus is COVID-19, which stands for Coronavirus Disease, and the 19 stands for the year 2019 when it began.
  • It seems that the virus originated in a bat, but may have been passed through another animal—perhaps a pangolin [2]. The virus’s origin is currently debated as genetic sequencing is still ongoing to determine the true intermediate origin [3]. Is it possible that the virus is synthetic? We do not assume nefarious purposes, but it may be that the virus was lab-made as opposed to naturally selected in a path from animal(s) to humans [4,5].
  • The current worldwide mortality rate according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center is approximately 7%. The highest fatalities are found in Belgium, France, and Spain. The current mortality rate in the USA is approximately 6%, which is about 27 deaths per 100,000 population [6].
  • The curve is beginning to flatten in most countries.  This means the total number of new cases per day is not exceeding the previous days [7].
  • NPR also offers data and maps by each state in the USA [8].
  • More here on the importance of flattening the curve.

Infection with novel SARS results in COVID-19 infection. The presentation of this infection differs widely from person to person. While some people have no symptoms (asymptomatic) others manifest with cough, sore throat, fever, GI disturbances (diarrhea), face pain, loss of smell and taste*, malaise, headache, skin rashes, atypical forms of pneumonia, and thrombosis [9]. 

Interestingly, the *olfactory receptor (smell receptors) superfamily is the largest in the human genome, which means we have more genes that code for detecting smell than any other gene family [10].

In the next post, we’ll examine how COVID-19 affects different sections of the population.

References 

  1. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30251-8/fulltext
  2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9?fbclid=IwAR0wPTvpPVodLwsoL4LrUUkaALk8-6EGMWImpZxBMi3ONJnfCCzrmtGYy9s
  3. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30251-8/fulltext
  4. https://youtu.be/FKtsx0fZzzQ (minute 15:15 of podcast)
  5. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/04/29/847948272/why-the-u-s-government-stopped-funding-a-research-project-on-bats-and-coronaviru?sc=18&f=1001
  6. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
  7. https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/new-cases
  8. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/16/816707182/map-tracking-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus-in-the-u-s
  9. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00405-020-05965-1?utm_source=sn&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=RMarketing&utm_campaign=BSLB_4_CA01_GL_BSLB_USG_CA01_GL_LSGR_PubH_Coronavirus_LandingPage
  10. https://humgenomics.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1479-7364-3-1-87

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