Two-thirds of the world could catch coronavirus, a top World Health Organisation adviser has warned.
Infectious disease scientist Ira Longini has estimated there could be billions more people infected with the disease as it spreads.
And while quarantines may slow the spread of the illness, coronavirus may have infected too many people in China for it to be successfully contained.
"Unless the transmissibility changes, surveillance and containment can only work so well," Dr Longini said.
"Isolating cases and quarantining contacts is not going to stop this virus."
Each coronavirus carrier typically infects two or three other people.
And with the disease often manifesting with very mild symptoms, often carriers are not diagnosed until the virus has already been passed on to others.
Of the 60,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, 1371 people have died.
The overwhelming number of fatalities come from Hubei province, where the disease first broke out.
Scientists warn an vaccine for the disease could be more than a year away.
What is the coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans. The name comes from the Latin word "corona," meaning a halo or crown, which the viruses resemble when viewed under a microscope.
What are the symptoms?
The viruses can make people sick, usually with symptoms similar to a common cold, such as a runny nose, cough, sore throat, headaches and fever, which can last for a couple of days. For those with a weakened immune system, the elderly and the very young, the virus can cause pneumonia or bronchitis.
How did it start and where did it come from?
The current outbreak is believed to have started from people who picked it up at a fresh food market in the city of Wuhan in central China. Some of the first infected patients ran businesses in the market, meaning it's possible they were infected by animals there. The market has been suspended.
Can I catch it and how does it spread?
A Chinese government team has confirmed this coronavirus is spread by human-to-human transmission. Depending on how virulent the virus is, a cough, sneeze or handshake could cause exposure. The virus can also be transmitted by touching something an infected person has touched and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
Is there a cure?
There is no specific treatment. Most of the time, symptoms will go away on their own. There is no vaccine to protect against this family of viruses, at least not yet.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-two-thirds-of-the-world-could-catch-illness/617b72e1-1bc6-4fcf-926d-e3ec76a05656