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San Diego Lab Works To Develop Coronavirus Vaccine, San Diego City Council 1 Race, This Weekend’s Top Events

 January 24, 2020 at 8:48 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 Today is the last day for a house managers to present their opening arguments in the impeachment trial. Our coverage of the trial in the Senate continues this morning at 10. The other major story of the week is the spread of the Corona virus. The CDC says a second U S case has been confirmed. A woman in Chicago who recently traveled to China's Wu Han province tested positive for the disease. The airborne virus continues to spread in China. 26 deaths have been reported. Chinese authorities have restricted travel in the country and canceled huge outdoor spring festivals. Meanwhile, researchers around the world, including here in San Diego, are working to find out how the disease operates and how to stop it. Journey KPB KPBS health reporter Taren Manto and Taryn, welcome. Thanks. First off, what is the Corona virus? I mean, how different is it from diseases like the flu? Speaker 2: 00:53 Well, it's, it's pretty similar in terms of symptoms, but the Corona virus and influenza virus are two different viruses, Corona virus, um, respiratory illness. Uh, it's, it's similar to what caused, it's what causes the common cold. People might remember MERS and SARS. Those are also Corona viruses. But there this Corona virus is a novel coronavirus. It's a new strain and what can happen is it also exists in animals and a Corona virus can mutate in animals and then infect a human and it becomes a new strain that your body is not prepared to, to fight off. How easily does it spread. That's what the public health officials at CDC are trying to really figure out. It's so new that we don't know a lot about it. We just know that there was a lot of cases tied to a seafood market and live animal and animal market in Wu Han province. Speaker 2: 01:45 And that is where a lot of these cases are being tied back to. We do know there were two cases that um, people coming from Wu Han province to the U S one in Washington and now one in Chicago, but they did haven't found people who were in close contact with those individuals to have had Corona virus. So it's really unclear how it spreads. What we do know, there's human to human spreading. We just don't know exactly how it is. So how deadly is the virus? Well, 26 people have died. Um, and there's 800 cases at least. But to put it, to compare it to the flute, just in San Diego, 32 people have died. So that puts it a little bit of context, but it is frightening because it's new and we don't have a specific treatment for it and we don't have a vaccine for it. So that can be really be frightening to people where the flu seems very familiar. But again, 32 people in San Diego alone have died from the flu this year. Speaker 1: 02:39 So China is limiting travel. It's virtually locked down a province of 59 million people to limit the spread of this new disease. Are there any precautions being taken here? Speaker 2: 02:49 Yes, there are screenings for people coming from Wu Han province at five airports, two in California, lax and San Francisco. They're also doing screenings at Atlanta and Chicago, which was added, um, just this week. Um, and they're also screening at JFK. Um, so that's, that's one thing that they're doing. And then the CDC is communicating a lot with local health departments, County health departments to let you know, to tell them to make sure that they're prepared for this. But this is something that, um, infection control is something that hospitals and health departments are very familiar with. Um, but they're working really rapidly to get any testing, any patients, uh, specimens who may be under investigation for having this chronic virus to get those tested really quickly. So CDC is the only one that has that testing ability. And so there's lots of communication from jurisdictions sending testing back to the CDC to get those results rapidly because this forest is so new. Speaker 2: 03:44 How are doctors treating it? They are treating it basically the symptoms, just how you would treat the symptoms. Because we don't have any medications specifically to attack this new Corona virus. It's really, they referred to it, care is supportive. We're just kind of treating the symptoms, um, providing help to people who might be having difficulty breathing. But from the two cases that we have had in the U S both patients seem to be doing very well. Tell us about this local company in OVO pharmaceuticals. They're working on a vaccine, correct. There's a international body that just gave them $9 million to work on a vaccine for this. This company has previously worked on vaccines, um, to quickly respond to outbreaks I'm setting such as previously Zika. Um, they worked on Amer's vaccine. Both of those has already been tested on humans. Um, so they're, they're, they have experience doing this. Speaker 2: 04:35 They use a different type of technology, but they don't have to, um, develop proteins and a lab. They use computer imaging and DNA to rapidly design a vaccine. I talked to one of the researcher yesterday and she said that they had a vaccine developed, designed within hours of receiving the genetic sequencing. Um, and so now they're actually manufacturing that, um, and we'll hopefully test it in humans by the summer. Wow. So, and there's a script's researcher who's also working on this virus. And the other thing that we need to learn about this virus is how exactly is it F infecting other people going from human to humans? How does it transfer? We know it's maybe similar to the flu, which is spreads really easily. But because some of the close contacts of like I mentioned, the Washington patient haven't yet come down with the Corona virus. It's still really unclear. Speaker 2: 05:24 So that individual is working on how, what exactly is happening and what goes from human to human. Now the world health organization declined to categorize Corona virus as a global health emergency. Why doesn't this disease qualify for that? I was reading that and it's basically, it's just some of the members said it was just too early. Um, and also credited the quick response. Um, I mean, China is taking, um, you know, significant measures, um, by, you know, banning outbound travel. Um, so there, there's a lot of proactive efforts on Chinese government's part. So that's what some of the discussion was about. Why it's too early to tell to declare it. I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter Taryn Manto Taren. Thank you. Thanks Maureen. Speaker 1: 00:00 On our weekend preview. If you've been feeling like your new year didn't turn out as happy as you hoped, you've got a chance for a new one this weekend. Plus the birthday celebration continues for one of classical music's great composers, San Diego dance theater returns to the stage, and it's your last chance to see a unique photography exhibit. Journey me is KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans. She's here making her mid day edition debut and Julia, welcome. Hi Maureen. So let's start out with the lunar new year. It kicks off this weekend. What are some of the festivities Speaker 2: 00:34 going on? Well, it's the year of the rat and people born in the year of their rat are clever. They're stubborn, optimistic, and thrifty. But the year of the rat is supposed to be a pretty creative year. Celebrations traditionally run for about 15 days and they're a bunch of events going on throughout these two weeks in town. First step, there is a big Vietnamese Tet festival at the mere Mesa community park that's all weekend long. And another big celebration will take place at the house of China at Balboa park. What can we look forward to at Balboa park? Well, there's of course the traditional lion dance and dragon dances, but there'll be plenty of other performances too, including some traditional Chinese harp instruments, and there's lots of good food. Speaker 1: 01:22 The house of China, Chinese new year festival takes place Saturday and Sunday in Balboa Park's international cottages area. Well, someone we know is celebrating his 250th Speaker 2: 01:34 he has Beethoven turns tune in 50 this year, and the San Diego symphony has been performing his works all season long and cleaning this weekend with his pastoral Egmont overture and Haydn's Oxford symphony. Why is heightened in this Beethoven birthday lineup? Beethoven was a student of Haydn, so it's only fitting that they perform his iconic Oxford symphony to modern audiences. It sounds traditional enough, but I think it was pretty unusual at the time in the way Haydn's structured the piece. To me, it's just very strong and lovely, and there'll be rounding out the performance with Beethoven's pastoral, right, and the pastor, I was such a delightful, lighthearted romp for pull us out of our misery. Speaker 3: 02:41 [inaudible]. Speaker 2: 02:42 The first movement is one of those omnipresent pieces. Everyone's heard before somewhere, but there are five total movements each justice sweeping and beautiful. So there's lots to discover. The San Diego zoo symphony Speaker 1: 02:54 performs Beethoven's pastoral tonight and tomorrow night at Copley symphony Speaker 2: 03:00 San Diego dance theater is the group that puts together trolley dances. But now the returning to a traditional stage for a performance. Yes, after a string of site specific projects, it feels like a long awaited return. There's something really unique about creating or experiencing site specific or immersive dance. The tone is different. The materials, there's no literal stage. So back on a stage, again, with this production of Janus, we can focus differently on the choreography or on the music. Now Janus is an annual program. And can you tell us what it's about? Well, according to ancient Roman myth, Janus is the God of beginnings and endings, and he has two heads. So San Diego dance theaters put together this repertory concert every January, the ultimate beginning for the last four years. Kind of like looking ahead and looking backwards at the same time. So what kinds of works will they be performing? Well, they're spotlighting a new piece of choreography by Jean Isaacs, who's their founder. It's set to music by contemporary composer Caroline SHA. Asics worked on this piece during the company's residency at the airport last summer, which is just a really cool use of the airport. If you ask me and you say the Carolyn Shaw composition is worth a listen. Yes. The composition is called Partita for eight voices and it won that Pulitzer prize in 2012 so let's listen to a bit of Shaw's Partita for eight voices. Speaker 3: 04:40 [inaudible] [inaudible]. Speaker 2: 04:48 She is such an innovative composer and the acapella vocals feel sometimes a bit unsettling and sometimes a bit lovely. There's a new premiere of work by the company's new associate artistic director, Terry Wilson. Tell us about that. This one crossroads features that full company of dancers, so it'd be really vibrant and fun. It's inspired by 1958 film by a Japanese film maker, K a Suki kin Ashita, the ballad of Nara Yama. I don't know if you saw Midsummer, but it feels like mid summer was also inspired by that film. No spoilers, but remote communities with aging rituals and a lot of self-examination. San Diego dance theater, performance Janus for at Seville theater at city college tonight through Sunday. And finally in the weekly KPBS arts newsletter that you're very familiar with, you'll list exhibitions and shows that are closing soon. So what's closing this weekend? Well, it's your last chance to see the Luis Gonzalez Palma exhibition at the free SCSU downtown gallery. Speaker 2: 05:53 So tell us about Luis Gonzalez Palma. He's a photographer and collage artist, and this is kind of a career spanning retrospective for him. It's called constructed mythologies. It's been at the downtown calorie since October. And what I love about these pieces, particularly the portraits, is that they feel like icons, like he's really building his own myths. There's a lot of story captured in these faces and you have until Sunday to see Lewis Gonzalez polymers constructed mythologies exhibit at the SDSU downtown gallery. Be sure to subscribe to the KPBS arts newsletter to get more news and events from San Diego's art scene and find more arts events at and I've been speaking with KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon, Evans. Julia. Thank you. Thank you.

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A San Diego lab is rapidly working to develop a vaccine against the growing and deadly Coronavirus. Also, this year's San Diego City Council district one race only features Democratic candidates. Plus, Julia Dixon Evans makes her Midday Edition debut as KPBS Arts Editor and discusses this weekend's top events from Lunar New Year festivities to a birthday celebration for one of classical music's great composers.