This novel coronavirus is a sneaky variety similar to those that have been responsible for the most destructive outbreaks of the last 100 years.
Viruses have spent billions of years perfecting the art of surviving without living – a frighteningly effective strategy that makes them a potent threat in today’s world.
That’s especially true of the deadly new coronavirus that has brought global society to a screeching halt. It’s little more than a packet of genetic material surrounded by a spiky protein shell one-thousandth the width of an eyelash, and leads such a zombie-like existence, it’s barely considered a living organism.
But as soon as it gets into a human airway, the virus hijacks our cells to create millions more versions of itself.
There is a certain evil genius to how this coronavirus pathogen works: It finds easy purchase in humans without them knowing. Before its first host even develops symptoms, it is already spreading its replicas everywhere, moving onto its next victim. It is powerfully deadly in some, but mild enough in others to escape containment. And, for now, we have no way of stopping it.