by Sheree Geo
As we predicted a few weeks ago, it appears as if symptoms alone are not going to be enough to determine if someone has been exposed to the novel coronavirus. According to CIDRAP, 11 new cases have been announced by Saudi Arabia since June 22nd, but the scariest part is that 8 of these were asymptomatic individuals who were acting as carriers of the disease.
Taking stock of how much the virus has spread, we can definitely see a pattern of growing lethality and pathogenicity of this particular virus. It has already long since achieved human-to-human transmission (quite easily in hospital settings, in fact) and these latest cases pretty much confirm the fact that the virus can be carried by healthy people and spread to others.
So, what do we know about this virus so far?
Among the team’s other major findings was that MERS, even with relatively fewer people infected than in the SARS outbreak, had a death rate many times higher than SARS, at 48 percent and 8 percent, respectively. However, experts caution that the MERS death rate may come down if more cases are identified, including among those with mild symptoms.
The time from viral exposure to the first signs of symptoms of coughing, shortness of breath, fever, or vomiting, was 5.2 days, while it took on average 7.6 days for the virus to spread from one person to the next.
The WHO statement put the global MERS-CoV count at 70 confirmed cases with 39 deaths. The latest cases and additional death reported in Saudi Arabia appear to raise the global numbers to 77 cases and 40 deaths. Saudi Arabia’s tally is 62 cases and 34 deaths.
According to The National, MERS-CoV originated in “a cluster of viruses from Qatar and the UAE (United Arab Emirates)” found in a Qatari man who died in a hospital in Munich, Germany late last year. Wait a minute, I thought this was one virus, not a “cluster” of them! Just how many genetic variants and subtypes of MERS-CoV are there?
Luckily, an author at RedOrbit is nice enough to break down the zoonotic nature of the virus and where the “experts” think it magically came from:
Purdue scientists expand:
“MERS-CoV and SARS are similar, yet distinctly different coronaviruses,” Mesecar said. …. MERS-CoV appears to be more virulent than SARS…”
So, we have a winner: MERS-CoV is basically a recombination of SARS and the Bat version of coronavirus. That’s all they had to say. But they aren’t “saying” it, at least not loud enough for people to understand the real story here: This was a biological weapon designed to infect people readily like a weak coronavirus, but have the lethality of SARS (another man-made biological weapon). It’s designed to travel undetected and readily from human to human, causing symptoms and death in a number of them, and no symptoms at all in others.
If you were the head of a corporation that made the testing kits for this virus, you would be jumping for joy at this announcement, because it means that travel safety “agencies”, health care providers, and “pandemic response teams” are going to be buying your product to make sure people who are “carriers” of the virus don’t get into their countries.
Selective testing will probably be enforced at TSA/DHS/DUI checkpoints around the country if this virus (or any other bioweapon that’s been developed) spreads to the U.S., and due to the already tense situation between the racial groups and economic classes, will probably turn into a chaotic situation in some places in the Western and Southern U.S. if people start getting carted off to “quarantine centers” if the “test” comes back positive.
At least National Geographic and virologist Nathan Wolfe have the heart to tell you exactly who is going to be “responding” to any coming pandemics:
We’ve established two organizations—Global Viral and Metabiota—that work in tandem to address the various facets of pandemics and biological threats. Global Viral focuses on exploratory, basic research while Metabiota assists governments and other organizations to mitigate the risks associated with pandemics and other biological threats. Our mission is to identify viruses before they become pandemics. And we do so by working with governments, NGOs, and other organizations to establish surveillance, laboratory, and data systems aimed at tracking viruses in their earliest stages of spread….
Over the past ten-plus years, we’ve collected over 200,000 blood samples from animals and humans. Probably our single biggest lesson learned is that there’s a lot more out there than we’re aware of!
Programs like the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Emerging Pandemic Threats Program, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Cooperative Biological Engagement Program and Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center, and a growing number of foundations, such as the Skoll Global Threats Fund and the Wellcome Trust, work around the world with organizations like ours to help improve and fortify these efforts.
These programs have already led to a range of successes, but long-term efforts are needed and the work has really only begun.
That is, by far, the scariest thing I’ve heard all day.
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