2019-nCoV (Wuhan virus), a novel Coronavirus: human-to-human transmission, travel-related cases, and vaccine readiness
Keywords:Wuhan, 2019-nCoV, coronavirus, human-to-human transmission, vaccine readiness
On 31 December 2019 the Wuhan Health Commission reported a cluster of atypical pneumonia cases that was linked to a wet market in the city of Wuhan, China. The first patients began experiencing symptoms of illness in mid-December 2019. Clinical isolates were found to contain a novel coronavirus with similarity to bat coronaviruses. As of 28 January 2020, there are in excess of 4,500 laboratory-confirmed cases, with > 100 known deaths. As with the SARS-CoV, infections in children appear to be rare. Travel-related cases have been confirmed in multiple countries and regions outside mainland China including Germany, France, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Canada, and the United States, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. Domestically in China, the virus has also been noted in several cities and provinces with cases in all but one provinence. While zoonotic transmission appears to be the original source of infections, the most alarming development is that human-to-human transmission is now prevelant. Of particular concern is that many healthcare workers have been infected in the current epidemic. There are several critical clinical questions that need to be resolved, including how efficient is human-to-human transmission? What is the animal reservoir? Is there an intermediate animal reservoir? Do the vaccines generated to the SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV or their proteins offer protection against 2019-nCoV? We offer a research perspective on the next steps for the generation of vaccines. We also present data on the use of in silico docking in gaining insight into 2019-nCoV Spike-receptor binding to aid in therapeutic development. Diagnostic PCR protocols can be found at https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus/laboratory-diagnostics-for-novel-coronavirus.
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