Coronavirus: is this the next pandemic?
Last September a doctor in a Saudi hospital was fired for reporting a new, deadly strain of the coronavirus. Now, with half of all confirmed cases ending in death, the World Health Organisation has issued a global alert and scientists are preparing for the worst
Professor Ali Mohamed Zaki, who diagnosed the first patient with a strain of the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, stands in his office in Cairo. Photograph: David Degner/Getty Images
In mid-June last year, Ali Mohamed Zaki, a virologist at the Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, took a call from a doctor who was worried about a patient. The 60-year-old man had been admitted to the hospital with severe viral pneumonia and the doctor wanted Zaki to identify the virus. Zaki obtained sputum from the patient and set to work. He ran the usual lab tests. One after another they came back…
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