Saudi Arabia reports to WHO another death of confirmed new coronavirus infection

2013-02-21 22:17:05 GMT2013-02-22 06:17:05(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

GENEVA, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of another death of confirmed infection with the novel coronavirus, WHO announced Thursday evening.

The patient was hospitalized on Jan. 29 and died on Feb. 10. Further investigation into this case is ongoing, WHO said in its latest disease outbreak update.

To date, WHO has been informed of a total of 13 confirmed cases of human infection with the new coronavirus, including seven deaths.

In Britain, where three family members had been confirmed with new coronavirus infection and one of them died, the Health Protection Agency continued to carry out investigations, WHO said.

In a newly-published article in American online journal mBio, researchers in the cantonal hospital in St. Gallen, Switzerland said that the novel coronavirus can reach its peak ability to replicate in two days, compared with as much as four days for the SARS virus.

WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Xinhua Thursday that the speed of replication of the virus is not related with its actual ability to spread.

He also reiterated that a comparison between the new virus and SARS virus is "not helpful".

He said that the novel coronavirus which we are seeing now is different genetically from SARS, it does not transmit as easily as SARS did, there are many fewer cases for the time-being of this novel coronavirus, and it causes a different spectrum of disease in some patients.

"So the two viruses are not the same," he said.

"We prefer to say that the two viruses are from the same family of coronaviruses, but that is where comparisons stop," he said.

Hartl said on Wednesday that the risk of the novel coronavirus infection is unchanged but urged health authorities to remain vigilant as it is impossible to predict the future.

WHO continues to closely monitor the situation, it said in the update.

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