The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can produce more than three times the amount of pathogens than the strain that caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003, although patients may display less inflammatory and immune responses, a study has found.
The finding from the research, led by prominent Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, is the first of its kind based on tests conducted on lung tissue removed from patients. The results underlined the virality of the disease, as well as difficulties for health authorities worldwide to detect it compared to Sars.
It took about six months to contain the Sars epidemic.
But it is a much bigger challenge for the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 1.6 million people around the world and caused more than 100,000 deaths in four months. According to the World Health Organisation, some 8,098 people were infected by Sars and 774 died of it.
There is almost no possibility to contain the virus before July because not many people have developed immunity yet, microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung says.