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Taiwan reports 4 imported coronavirus cases from South Africa, Philippines

3 Filipino migrant workers, 1 Taiwanese man test positive for coronavirus after end of Taiwan quarantines

By Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2021/01/29 14:33

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Friday (Jan. 29) confirmed four new imported cases of the Wuhan coronavirus.

On Friday, health minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced four new imported coronavirus cases, raising the total number of cases in Taiwan to 899. The latest infections include three Filipino migrant workers and a Taiwanese citizen who recently returned from South Africa.

Each had submitted the negative result of a test taken within three days of their flight, and each was sent directly to their residence upon arrival in Taiwan.

Chen said that Cases 897, 898, and 899 are all female Filipino migrant workers in their 30s who came to Taiwan for work on Jan. 14 and have been asymptomatic since their arrival. As their quarantine was set to expire, they underwent a coronavirus test on Jan. 27 and were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Jan. 29.

Since all three persons have been asymptomatic and did not have any contact with others during their quarantine, no contacts have been listed in their cases.

According to Chen, Case No. 900 is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who went to visit relatives in South African in October of last year. He returned to Taiwan on Jan. 12 of this year.
On Jan. 19, he began to experience a sore throat, nasal congestion, and cough and took over-the-counter medication to treat the symptoms. He reported the symptoms to health department officials on Jan. 24, but because his condition had improved after taking medication, he did not seek medical attention.

When his quarantine expired on Jan. 27, he went to a hospital to undergo a coronavirus test and was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Jan. 29. The health department has only identified one contact in his case, a family member who had been staying in the same residence as him.

However, because the two were staying on separate floors and the activity space was separated, the relative has only been asked to implement self-health monitoring.

Since the outbreak began, Taiwan has carried out 151,837 COVID-19 tests, with 148,478 coming back negative. Out of the 899 officially confirmed cases, 789 were imported, 71 were local, 36 came from the Navy's "Goodwill Fleet," two were from a cargo pilot cluster, one is an unresolved case, and one (no. 530) was removed as a confirmed case.

Up until now, seven individuals have succumbed to the disease, while 813 have been released from hospital isolation, leaving 79 patients still undergoing treatment in Taiwan.
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Jeffrey51 · 51-55, M
Did you know Coronavirus been around for centuries
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[@865932,Jeffrey51] nope
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In 1965, researchers discovered a vexing respiratory infection called 229E. Today, we know it as the common cold.


IN 2016, a 45-year-old schoolteacher in Athens, Greece, arrived at the emergency room of the Hygeia Hospital. A non-smoker with no major health issues, she presented with unusual symptoms— a fever over 103 degrees, a dry cough and severe headache. When the ER doctor examined her, it was noted that the lower part of her left lung was rattling when she breathed, and a chest X-ray confirmed an abnormality.

Thinking this a case of bacterial pneumonia, doctors treated her with antibiotics. But over the next two days, the woman’s condition deteriorated—and the pneumonia lab test came back negative. As her breathing began to fail, she was supplied with oxygen and a new set of medications. Meanwhile, she was tested for a broad variety of possible culprits, including various strains of the flu, the bacteria that cause Legionnaires disease, whooping cough, and other serious respiratory diseases. All came back negative, as did tests for SARS and MERS.

In fact, only one test turned up positive, but it was a result so surprising that doctors ran it again. The result was the same: the patient was suffering from a familiar but inscrutable infection known as 229E—the first human coronavirus ever discovered.

The severity of the schoolteacher’s condition would have come as a surprise to the researchers in the early 1960s who discovered 229E. That’s because they were looking for the viruses responsible for the common cold. By the mid-20th century, scientists had worked out techniques to isolate some viruses, but their research left many strains unaccounted for—about 35% of people with colds had viruses that scientists weren’t able to identify.

In 1965, Dorothy Hamre, a researcher at the University of Chicago, took this medical blind spot as a challenge. As she studied the tissue cultures of students with colds, she discovered a new kind of virus, which became known as 229E.

At the same time, a group of researchers in England, led by Dr. David Tyrrell, was learning more about the common cold. They, too, isolated what appeared to be a new type of virus in tissue culture. When Tyrrell’s team examined it under an electron microscope, they found that it resembled a virus that had been isolated in the 1930s from chickens with bronchitis. It was a coronavirus—the first proven to infect humans.

“These were always very important viruses in animals,” says Dr. Ken McIntosh, a researcher at Harvard Medical School. “There was this virus called Avian Bronchitis Virus in chickens. It was very important commercially and vaccines were available.”

There is a fascinating time capsule aspect to this early research. Whereas biological studies are conducted today with strict containment and safety procedures, things were a bit more freewheeling a half-century ago. A contemporary newspaper account of Tyrrell’s findings noted how his team ensured that the virus they had isolated wasn’t already present in the organ cultures they were growing it in. “They put samples of the medium into the nose of 113 volunteers. Only one caught a cold. That took care of that.”

At the time of Hamre and Tyrrell’s discoveries, Dr. McIntosh was part of a team at the National Institutes of Health that was also looking at causes for the common cold. (“Quite independently,” he adds, as those teams hadn’t published any research yet.) Dr. McIntosh’s team discovered what is now known as OC43, another common human coronavirus that still leads to respiratory infections today. In 1968, the term “coronavirus” was coined, based on how, under an electron microscope, its crown-like surface resembled the Sun’s outer layer, called the corona.

While the discovery of novel coronaviruses like 229E and OC43 generated great media interest at the time—one article boldly proclaimed that “science has tripled its chance for eventually licking the common cold”—Dr. McIntosh recalls that the scientific community didn’t actively focus on investigating coronaviruses again until the emergence of SARS in 2003. Because 229E and OC43 caused relatively mild illnesses in people, doctors could treat them much like colds caused by other viruses: fever reducers, cough suppressants and the occasional bowl of chicken soup.

Then came the 2003 SARS outbreak, which began with a coronavirus in China and ultimately spread to 29 countries. Though that disease was ultimately confirmed to have infected just 8,096 people, there were 774 deaths attributed to it—a shockingly high mortality rate that caused researchers to take a second look at the virus class. “When SARS came along, the world of coronaviruses suddenly changed and it became much larger and much more technical,” Dr. McIntosh recalls.

Since then, two more coronaviruses that also cause colds—NL63 and HKU1—have been discovered. And it wasn’t until 2012—nearly 50 years after its discovery—that the complete genome of 229E was finally sequenced. In the meantime, a number of case reports were published showing that 229E could potentially cause severe respiratory symptoms in patients with compromised immune symptoms, though for most healthy people its impact is mostly limited to a cold.

Despite the intense scrutiny that coronaviruses have undergone since SARS, it’s still not altogether clear why three coronaviruses—SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 (the source of the COVID-19 pandemic)—have led to far more severe symptoms and a higher mortality rate, while the other four known human coronaviruses remain much milder.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2020/04/11/the-secret-history-of-the-first-coronavirus-229e/?sh=1167f871d65b

 
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