By Anne Gulland, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medecine

“On the last day of 2019, authorities in China informed the World Health Organization of an unusual pneumonia that was circulating in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.

This novel disease was quickly identified as a coronavirus – one of several such viruses circulating in animals, of which only six had ever made the jump into humans.

Just over four months later the virus – now called COVID-19 – has spread to nearly every country in the world, overwhelmed even the most sophisticated health systems, and led to huge changes in the daily lives of billions of ordinary citizens.”