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Thursday 30 January 2020

Global health

Is this the one?


Is this the one? 24’30

One day, the next catastrophic global epidemic will strike. Scientists already know a few things about it: it will probably have crossed the species barrier from animal to human; it’s likely to originate in Asia; it will travel easily from person to person.

The coronavirus has all those characteristics but we may be fortunate. The early signs are that it’s not as fatal as some of the viruses responsible for previous pandemics, and the lessons we learned from those outbreaks may help to contain it.

In this week’s Tortoise podcast, Basia Cummings looks back at SARS, the last virus which seemed to carry a global threat, and how one doctor’s actions saved countless lives in a country. Her guest is Jeremy Farrar, director of the medical research charity, the Wellcome Trust.

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