For mortality risk watchers who are waiting with morbid fascination for the “next Spanish flu”, the new “coronavirus” that has made headlines in the Middle East may prove to be a bust. Although the SARS cousin has killed at least two people from Saudi Arabia and put a man from Qatar in the hospital, it has a hard time spreading. But the virus could still be a contender: scientists are studying it to see if it could gain the ability to spread.

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