USM researcher monitoring outbreak of Coronavirus

USM researcher monitoring outbreak of Coronavirus

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - A top researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi is monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus.

China reported 25 more deaths due to the virus, raising the total deaths to 106, according to the Associated Press. More than 4,500 cases have been confirmed, with the virus spreading to other nations, including the United States.

USM researcher Fengwei Bai has studied the Zika and West Nile viruses and says this new virus is related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which caused a pandemic in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

He said so far, the death rate is low for this coronavirus and most people who get it will survive.

“Compared to SARS, this death rate is low. For SARS, about 9% death rate, so far for this we have the data, about 3% death rate,” said Bai, who is an associate professor in cell and molecular biology at USM.

Bai said like SARS, this disease will most likely peak in a few months and then decline, well before a vaccine can be developed.

The AP reports that U.S. officials have ordered enhanced screenings for international travelers at 20 entry points.

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