Coronavirus much, much worse, says Peter Piot, Ebola discoverer

WION Web Team
London, United KingdomUpdated: Mar 13, 2020, 09:01 PM IST


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Peter piot, co-discoverer of Ebola virus and London school of hygiene and tropical medicine director.

In a major revelation, the man who co-discovered the Ebola virus has warned that the new coronavirus is "much, much worse" than Ebola.

Peter Piot said that unlike Ebola, which requires close contact with a victim, the new virus was "very infectious".

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Piot said the new coronavirus was more dangerous as the virus is literally something you can catch by just talking to somebody,

Professor Peter Piot co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire while working at the institute of tropical medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. Its average fatality rate is 50 per cent, although in some previous outbreaks it has been as high as 90 per cent.

"This is much, much worse than Ebola. Ebola requires very close contact for transmission. People are very scared of it but frankly, it is usually very contained. I mean, we have some exceptions," Piot said.

"But it's because it (new coronavirus) is a respiratory transmitted virus that makes it so worrisome. And it's very infectious because there's so much virus in the throat. So this is literally something you can catch by just talking to somebody," he added.

Peter Piot, currently the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, equated the coronavirus outbreak with the Spanish flu.

The influenza outbreak infected 500 million around the world in 1918 and killed an estimated 50 million people. However, he pointed out that at least this time around, the world was better equipped through antibiotics and specialist medical tools.

"It's like back to the times of the Spanish flu, 100 years ago, where that killed, you know, 50 million people. However, we have antibiotics that can treat pneumonia, there are respirators, we are better equipped," he asserted.