A few more excerpts from the Helen Branswell piece below:
Dr. Fouchier was front and centre in the laboratory effort during the
2003 SARS outbreak. It was his lab, at the Erasmus Medical Centre in
Rotterdam, that proved what’s called Koch’s postulates — the test that
confirmed that the newly identified coronavirus was actually causing the
During the early days of the SARS outbreak, the WHO
rapidly put together a virtual network of laboratories, tapping into
expertise around the world to combat the alarming new disease.
But this time? In the summer, Dr. Fouchier’s lab identified and
sequenced the new coronavirus and developed a test for it. But since
then, it’s been “radio silence,” Dr. Fouchier said in an interview
“Everything I’ve heard since then has just come from the
lay press, which is completely in contrast to how we acted back in the
SARS era,” he said.
“That was completely different during the SARS
outbreak. We were all talking together, exchanging results and giving
each other ideas about what to test, how to test, where to test. And
none of that is happening now. We just have to rely that they’re doing
the right thing.”
Officials in the know should be sharing more information, Dr. Osterholm agreed.
this point in any outbreak investigation, there clearly is more
information that is known by health officials than likely has been
shared,” he said.
“But if there were ever a time for complete
transparency, now is the time. We’ve learned that in the past and I’d
hate to see us have to relearn the lesson again.”