The newly-emerged "novel coronavirus," known also as NCoV, has killed another victim and has driven the known number of total dead to six, loosely representing a known mortality rate of 50 percent - when looking at the 12 people known to be infected globally.
The latest death occurred in the United Kingdom, after a family of four was reported to have been infected after visiting the Middle East where the SARS-like NCoV virus is believed to have originated. The fatality represents the first NCoV-related death in the UK.
Given the historical severity and nature of SARS and the potential for this new coronavirus to pose a threat to human populations, the media have begun issuing more in-depth analysis of the NCoV virus.
On Tuesday, The Guardian issued a Q&A analysis
of the NCoV threat, providing detail on what it is, how it operates, where it came from, and how dangerous it is currently.
Coronaviruses are particularly dangerous, as they utilize numerous proteins to help suppress early detection by the immune system, blocking the immune system's interferons from eliciting an early detection that would otherwise alert a healthy response from the body. This stealth mechanism allows the virus to replicate silently and to impact the lungs more deeply and dangerously than an influenza virus, which does not carry as many of these stealth proteins.
As the Toronto Star reported
, NCoV is a very effective and disruptive virus, but it is challenged currently in spreading easily from person to person.
“The good news is this virus is not different to other coronaviruses in terms of its vulnerability to interferons,” Dr. Volker Thiel, of the Kantonal Hospital’s Institute of Immunology in Switzerland, said, according to the Toronto Star report. “Interferon treatment should work — to some extent, at least.”