Month: February 2020

Coronavirus symposium at UMD and other news

Did you catch the symposium in the Hoff theater today? If not, you can watch on Youtube — hear me and other faculty  from the SPH to learn more about the new coronavirus virus, what to expect, how to (and not to) read the news, and how to stay well.

Have you been wondering about how the situation on the cruise ship Diamond Princes got to be so bad? This article on Buzzfeednews with extensive information and links to some outstanding science by our friend and colleague at Purdue, Qingyan Chen, is worth a read [disclaimer — I’m quoted too].

Common Coronaviruses and the Novel Coronavirus — Big Difference!!

The common coronavirus is common — on average 17% of students get it every year.
The novel coronavirus is, well, novel and far away.  

You probably heard the news about the 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that started in Wuhan late last year. Well, so far there’s none of that here. But, there’s lots of the “run of the mill,” common coronavirus around this year and every year. It is one of the things that causes the “common cold.” These ‘normal’ human coronaviruses (HCoV) are definitely NOT ‘novel.’ There are  four different types of HCoV: 229E, HKU1, NL63, and OC43. Over the last three years of the CATCH study, we’ve identified over 100 cases of these four common coronaviruses. Here’s the data — note that each year we saw lots of coronavirus. On average over the years, 17% of people in our research study had a coronavirus infection.

Virus Sp 2017 Sp 2018 Sp 2019 Total
229E 5 6 20 31
HKU1 4 15 2 21
NL63 3 15 18
OC43 13 3 19 35
All Common HCoV 25 24 56 105
Total Participants 68 164 398 630
Percent infected 37% 15% 14% 17%
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