What we know about the Covid-19 virus
February 12, 2020 - Scientists and researchers around the world are racing to understand the deadly new coronavirus that was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, as the global number of cases surpasses 45,000.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has named the illness Covid-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.
There are no proven treatments or vaccines for the new and still-mysterious virus, which has killed more than 1,000 people, almost all of them in mainland China.
The new coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
Common signs of infection include fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.
About 82 percent of cases are mild, according to Chinese data shared with the WHO. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and death.
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