New Coronavirus Reveals Some of Its Secrets

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Science  05 Apr 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6128, pp. 17-18
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6128.17

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Six months after a SARS-like virus was first reported, scientists are convinced that there are more people infected than the 17 known cases, but they don't know how many; they assume the virus originates in animals, but they don't know in which species. There is almost certainly human-to-human transmission, but it's unclear how efficiently it occurs or if it has the potential to explode into a global health crisis. Since the virus emerged, scientists have published genomes of four strains isolated from patients, developed diagnostic tests, and set out to develop animal models. But given the many questions about the epidemiology in the Arabian Peninsula, some researchers are hoping that the genomes of viruses found at different times and locales may yield clues about what is happening.