China’s Mystery Outbreak Isn’t SARS

The mystery outbreak causing dozens of infections in Wuhan is not SARS or MERS, according to Chinese officials, the BBC reports.

As the number of cases in Wuhan nears 60, public health researchers outside the country want more details about what may be a new virus—and possibly a coronavirus, writes STAT’s Helen Branswell. (A coronavirus caused SARS.)

While some on social media have accused China of a lack of transparency about the outbreak, Ralph Baric, a University of North Carolina coronavirus expert, dismissed comparisons with the country’s opaque response to SARS in 2002-2003. China’s response and capabilities have evolved dramatically since then, he said.

“They have many of the best virologists in the world there that are working on this,” Baric told STAT.

No deaths from the virus have been reported thus far.

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