Health

So far, no person-to-person spread of the infection has been confirmed.

Ars Technica
Date: 1/13/2020
By: Beth Mole

Security guards stand in front of the closed Huanan wholesale seafood market, where health authorities say a man who died from a respiratory illness had purchased goods from, in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, on January 12, 2020. – A 61-year-old man has become the first person to die in China from a respiratory illness believed caused by a new virus from the same family as SARS, which claimed hundreds of lives more than a decade ago, authorities said. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)

A never-before-seen virus that sparked an outbreak of viral pneumonia in the Chinese city of Wuhan has now killed one person and spread to Thailand via a sick traveler.

On Saturday, January 11, officials in Wuhan reported that a 61-year-old man died January 9. Testing indicated he was carrying the virus, which researchers have confirmed is a novel strain of coronavirus.

Never-before-seen virus may be behind mystery outbreak in ChinaHis is the first recorded death in the outbreak, which erupted last month in Wuhan and has been linked to a live-animal market there. Officials said that the man had been admitted to the hospital with respiratory failure and severe pneumonia. However, they also noted that he had other health issues, namely abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease.

Since officially linking the novel coronavirus to the outbreak, officials in Wuhan have confirmed 41 cases of pneumonia from the viral newcomer. Of those, six are considered severe, and seven cases have been treated and discharged. That tally is down from 59 outbreak cases reported earlier last week, before the viral cause was known.

The sick traveler in Thailand marks the first time that the virus has been confirmed outside of China.
[FULL  STORY]

CNN
Date: May 27, 2019
By: Serenitie Wang, CNN

Beijing (CNN)Wang Shichang works 12 hours a day, often for six days a week. The newlywed is so busy he says he barely has time for his wife.
At the age of 28, Wang’s energy levels are low. His eyes feel strained and dry. His sleep is light, and he says he’s put on 20 pounds since he started working as a developer four years ago.
“Climbing four floors makes me out of breath these days,” he says.
Wang blames his condition on what’s known in China as “996” — a grueling work schedule that stretches from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, which has become the norm at many Chinese tech companies and start-ups.

The topic has prompted heated debate on social media, with many tech tycoons and entrepreneurs weighing on the merits of long and stressful working hours. Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba and one of China’s richest men, drew criticism earlier this year after he endorsed long work hours, calling them “a blessing.”

Wang doesn’t agree with Ma — and he’s not the only one. Many others have been voicing their complaints on Github, an online forum known in the tech world for code-sharing.

They also share “anti-996” memes that poke fun at their predicament. In one, a Japanese actress was photoshopped to carry a sign saying: “Developers’ lives matter.” In another, a couple hold up wine glasses with the caption: “Come, let’s celebrate being in the same room together for the first time in two years.” The Github project has been liked more than a quarter of a million times.

Despite the humor, Wang, the tech workers and experts alike say overwork is leading to serious mental and physical health problems.    [FULL  STORY]

Scientists believe the recently discovered virus has the potential to infect humans.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/01/21
By: Muhammad Munir

Scientists from China and Singapore recently reported the discovery of an Ebola-like virus in the liver of fruit bats in Yunnan Province, China. The Mengla virus, named for the county it was discovered in, shares many of the characteristics of the deadly Ebola virus and has the potential to infect humans.

The Mengla virus belongs to the small but deadly family of filoviruses, which includes Ebolavirus, Marburgvirus and Cuevavirus. These viruses are known to cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans, apes and monkeys, but there is no suggestion that the Mengla virus has been transmitted to humans.

Scientists in China had previously found evidence, in the form of antibodies, of several filoviruses in Rousettus and Eonycteris bats and provided evidence that they were filoviruses – initially labelled as “unclassified”. These same scientists then extended their investigation to explore the genetics of a virus collected from Rousettus bats from Mengla County.

Having genetically sequenced the Mengla virus, they discovered that it has 32-54 percent genetic similarity with known filoviruses and sits somewhere between the Ebola and Marburg viruses on the evolutionary tree. However, the Mengla virus is different enough to warrant its own genus. The new genus has been named Dianlovirus, and it sits in the filovirus group.

The genome of the Mengla virus indicated that it carries a protein on its surface that is similar to other filoviruses that can infect mammals. They found that the Mengla virus uses the same NPC1 receptor that other filoviruses use to enter and infect cells, which suggests that it could infect humans, monkeys, dogs, hamsters and bats. The virus has the potential to either infect humans directly or by first infecting other animals. However, further studies are needed to demonstrate this potential.

The scientists also compared this novel virus genome to Ebola and Marburg viruses and identified incredible similarity in how the genome is organized. Although scientists have not yet sequenced the entire genome of the virus, there is convincing evidence that the Mengla virus can jump to humans through urbanization and deforestation and the close interaction between humans and animals that this encourages.    [FULL  STORY]