In DepthInfectious Diseases

Will novel virus go pandemic or be contained?

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Science  07 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6478, pp. 610-611
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6478.610

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  • COVID-19, A Principle of Precaution-Based Approach
    • Giovanni Di Guardo, Professor of General Pathology and Veterinary Pathophysiology, University of Teramo, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, 64100 - Teramo, Italy

    Letter to the Editor

    COVID-19, A Principle of Precaution-Based Approac

    Giovanni Di Guardo, DVM, Dipl. ECVP,
    Professor of General Pathology and Veterinary Pathophysiology,
    University of Teramo, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, 64100 - Teramo, Italy
    (E-mail: gdiguardo@unite.it)

    Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), popularly known as mad cow disease, likely represents the most paradigmatic example of adoption of the principle of precaution (POP). Whenever coping, in fact, with any public health emergency characterized (like BSE) by significant knowledge gaps, adequate, POP-inspired measures should be rapidly put into force to minimize human exposure.
    The newly identified 2019-nCoV, the seventh human coronavirus1 which has been renamed SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, and which had been previously classified as a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), is no exception to the rule. As a matter of fact, at the date of February 14, 2020, over 1,500 deaths and almost 50,000 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019, the official denomination of the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2) have been recorded in patients from China (COVID-2019, Situation Report 25, WHO).
    Viral interhuman transmission, reported in China2 and elsewhere in Asia3 and Europe4, has pushed the Chinese Health Authorities...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • Rural China’s Science Popularization Under the Novel Coronavirus Infections
    • Qiang Wang, professor, Research Center for Youth Science Popularization, College of Elementary Education, Capital Normal University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Xiantong Yang, graduate student, College of Elementary Education, Capital Normal University
      • Mengmeng Zhang, graduate student, Faculty of Education, Beijing Normal University
      • Jinxin Tian, graduate student, College of Elementary Education, Capital Normal University
      • Xin Song, doctoral student, College of Education, Capital Normal University
      • Chang Gao, graduate student, College of Elementary Education, Capital Normal University
      • Shaowei Chen, professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California
      • Jon-chao Hong, professor, Department of Industrial Education, National Taiwan Normal University

    Wuhan, a city of more than 14 million people, has become an “isolated island” due to the outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The 2019-nCoV belongs to β-coronavirus as well as SARS coronavirus and MERS coronavirus (1), but its trend remains uncertain (2). As of 24:00 on February 11, 2020, the 2019-nCoV has infected 38800 people (3) and affected 25 countries such as the USA, Britain, Japan, and Australia. As a result, Wuhan was forced to close the city at 0:00 on January 23. However, more than 5 million people left Wuhan before the closure of the city (4), which may include patients with 2019-nCoV, most of whom returned to their rural hometown for the Spring Festival.
    Under the influence of 2019-nCoV, the most bustling festival of Spring Festival in rural China also fell silent. China's rural areas are vast and the population is scattered. In addition, the scientific literacy and health awareness of the rural population are poor, and the health conditions in rural areas are weak, which makes it even more challenging to contain the epidemic. Among them, carrying out epidemic science popularization in rural areas is very important to supplement disease prevention knowledge and strengthen the epidemic awareness of rural residents.
    Under the leadership of village committees, some progress has been made in the prevention of rural epidemics (5). Among them, ‘a letter to the villagers’ helps educate the villagers about the new coronavirus. Othe...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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