Chinese scientists have identified a novel coronavirus—a pathogen family responsible for two other new diseases since 2003—as the likely cause of the outbreak of an unusual viral pneumonia in the central city of Wuhan that has sickened dozens of people since mid-December 2019. The researchers have sequenced the virus and developed a test to identify it, according to a news report today by CCTV, China’s state-owned broadcaster.

Although the link between the agent and the disease needs to be confirmed, many scientists praised the discovery, which they say is a testimony of China’s prowess in virology. But they are urging the country to quickly share much more information about the new agent, the disease it causes, and how it appears to spread.


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