Half a year ago, at the beginning of the second week of January, Chinese authorities made the first public announcement that a new type of virus was rampant in the city of Wuhan.
Here is an overview of what has become known about the virus so far and how far medicine has progressed in the fight against SARS-CoV-2:
When the existence of the virus was announced, the first infection of a human by a vertebrate animal had apparently occurred several weeks earlier.
Initially, Chinese authorities seem to have tried to suppress any evidence. To this day, it is not exactly clear when and where the virus jumped from animal to human. Transmission from a bat to an intermediate host, perhaps a tanuki, and then to humans is considered likely and seems to be the origin of the pandemic that is still in full swing today.
Chinese virologists deciphered the genetic information of the virus in record time. On January 21, they published the genome structure and three days later a detailed description of the virus. This enabled physicians and microbiologists worldwide to begin developing drugs and vaccines.