SA pathologist is taken back in time by novel coronavirus

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SA pathologist is taken back in time by novel coronavirus

SARS broke out in 2003. Did we learn from that experience? ‘Only partially’

Senior science reporter

Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Hospital pathologist Prof Wolfgang Preiser knows this feeling all too well: a story breaks about a strange virus, and before you know it, the number of cases is climbing sky-high, deaths are being reported around the world, and SA is on high alert, setting up isolation rooms and making sure diagnostic kits are available.

“Novel coronavirus is a very hot topic,” he says, “and it has mentally transported me back to the SARS in 2003.”

The main difference, however, between SARS and novel coronavirus, says Preiser, is the timeline. While both are highly virulent and spread quickly, novel coronavirus has completely outstripped SARS...

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