Sri Lankan professor who discovered SARS virus makes a revelation about coronavirus

Wednesday, 29 January 2020 - 15:29

Malik Peiris, a Sri Lankan professor of viral disease says that the risk of the transmission of coronavirus from person to person has still not surfaced in Sri Lanka.

Professor Malik Peiris, who discovered the virus that caused the respiratory disease called SARS, was named as a hero in Asia in 2006 by the Times Magazine.

He is currently the Head of the Virology Lab at the Department of Public Service Laboratory, University of Hong Kong.

He is also the director of the World Health Organization's influenza research institute in Hong Kong.

Professor Malik Peiris joining a telephone discussion from Hong Kong with the Hiru news team about the coronavirus spreading in China, stated that Sri Lankans should not have undue fear about the virus.

Professor Malik Peiris has given priority to develop the method currently used to detect coronavirus in Sri Lanka.

He said it would take several months or even a year to introduce a definitive treatment for the coronavirus. However, he stated that there is the possibility of using several other therapies.

Coronavirus is not as powerful as the SARS virus that was previously identified, but it is more powerful than the influenza virus in Sri Lanka.

Coronavirus can be fatal to people over 50 years old and special groups such a people with heart ailments.

According to Professor Malik Peiris, when considering the reported deaths in China so far, there is not a single person below 50 years.

The Professor stated that although the mortality rate of the SARS virus is 10 per cent, the coronavirus mortality rate is about 1 per cent.

He stated that the current investigations have revealed that Coronavirus has been transmitted to humans by small bats in China.