HOUSTON, Texas — A physician tasked with developing a vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus-type illnesses says this latest virus is the third variant since 2002. The doctor expressed concern about the frequency of new coronavirus contagions.
“This is the third new coronavirus since the turn of the century,” Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the Molecular, Virology, and Microbiology Department at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston told Breitbart Texas in a phone interview. “This is serious business.”
The doctor referenced the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) discovery in 2002, the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) discovery in 2012, and the Wuhan coronavirus in 2020.
“It is still very early,” Dr. Hotez said in reference to a question about what we know about the Wuhan coronavirus. “What we don’t know is much more than what we do know.”
He does not believe the virus will be as deadly as SARS, which had about a 10 percent mortality rate. If the information provided by the Chinese government is correct, the current disclosed mortality rate is currently just under two percent. Early on Wednesday, Chinese officials directly reported nine deaths out of 479 reported cases.
“We will know more in the coming weeks,” the doctor continued. “Right now, it appears to be harder to transmit than the previous viruses, the flu, or measles.”
“We are now seeing person-to-person spreading of the virus,” he added. “We will know more in the coming weeks.”
To help prevent the spread of the virus, the doctor suggested prevention methods similar to the common cold or flu. This includes frequent hand washing, covering mouths during a cough or sneeze, and staying away from people who might be infected.
Chinese National Health Commission Vice-Minister Li Bin told reporters in a Wednesday (January 22) press conference regarding the Wuhan coronavirus (also known as 2019-nCo) that there is a “possibility of viral mutation and further spread of the disease,” the AFP reported. The news agency reported the number of confirmed cases in China now stands at 440.
Dr. Hotez said his researchers have not yet determined if a prototype vaccine developed for SARS will be effective against the new coronavirus.
The doctor said he is more concerned about this year’s flu season. He said at least six children under the age of 16 have died from flu-related symptoms since October 2019.
“If you’re concerned about your health, get a flu vaccine,” Dr. Hotez urged.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face