Podcast: The origins and dangers of coronaviruses

What are coronaviruses, where do they come from and why is it in the interest of public health to monitor them? We discuss this and more with Linfa Wang, Editor-in-Chief of Virology Journal, in our podcast. Listen to find out more!



“The emergence and outbreak of SARS and MERS taught us a very heavy lesson about the price we need to pay if we don’t actively monitor the infection dynamics and also outbreak potentials of coronaviruses,” says Linfa Wang.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can infect animals and humans. Amongst the most prominent strains of coronavirus are SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, which are the causative agents behind SARS and MERS respectively.

The origins of coronaviruses are a key topic in the field as strains that are now only found in bats and other animals, “may have the potential to cross species and infect humans,” as Linfa Wang points out. He has been studying coronaviruses for over ten years and played a leading role in the discovery that bats are the natural reservoir of SARS-CoV.

In this podcast, we talk with him about what coronaviruses are, how they are spread, their bat origins and why it’s important to monitor them. The thematic series on coronaviruses in Virology Journal further presents some of the most recent research in the field.

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Pia Melichar

Multimedia assistant at BioMed Central
After completing her BSc in Human Sciences at UCL, Pia pursued her interest in science communication and studied MSc Science Media Production at Imperial College London. She joined BioMed Central in December 2013.

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