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What does the Chinese coronavirus acronym "2019-nCoV" stand for?

The current coronavirus epidemic is causing a lot of ink to flow and arousing fear in several countries. However, this new virus has not yet been formally named and is currently identified using an acronym.

A virus not yet named

The coronavirus epidemic has caused the quarantine of several Chinese cities, has crossed borders and has even been sequenced. Its progress is even visible on an interactive map. More recently, it has been replicated in order to be better diagnosed and to be used in the development of a vaccine.

The virus is commonly nicknamed "Chinese coronavirus" or "Wuhan coronavirus", named after the city where the outbreak occurred. Additionally, it is currently identified by the acronym 2019-nCoV . "2019" is relative to the year of first detection, "n" stands for "new" and "CoV" expresses membership in the coronavirus family. However, as Stat News reminds us in an article published on January 23, 2020, the coronavirus has no name.

What does the Chinese coronavirus acronym  2019-nCoV  stand for?

A few months of waiting

You should know that the naming of the virus is under the responsibility of the researchers having isolated it for the first time. These must propose names to a study group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). However, the next meeting of this group is only scheduled for May 2020. This therefore explains why the coronavirus has not yet been named. Moreover, this future name should be quite easy to remember and should not refer to a place, personality or animal.

Regarding the number of patients, the latest report showing 6,057 cases and 132 deaths has just exceeded that of the 2003 SARS coronavirus. The latter had infected 5,327 people in China , but had more victims (349 deaths). In other words, 2019-nCoV is spreading faster , but turns out to be less virulent. However, we must remain cautious, because the epidemic is still far from over.

A simulation carried out in Hong Hong suggests an underestimation of the number of cases. The researchers had also mentioned multiplication of cases by two every six days , eventually peaking in April or May. However, a Chinese specialist in respiratory diseases spoke of the arrival of this peak in a week or ten days before its mortality decreases.

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