In the five months since the world learned about Covid-19, it has killed hundreds of thousands of people. In that time, what have scientists found out – and what do they still not know?
Coronaviruses have been causing problems for humanity for a long time. Several versions are known to trigger common colds and more recently two types have set off outbreaks of deadly illnesses: severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers).
But their impact has been mild compared with the global havoc unleashed by the coronavirus that is causing the Covid-19 pandemic. Anushka Asthana talks to Robin McKie, the Observer’s science editor, about what we know about this organism unknown to science five months ago – and how this knowledge can put an end to the pandemic.