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Meet 'The Coronavirus Hunter' Ralph Baric

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 took most of the world by surprise — but not Ralph Baric. He is an epidemiologist at UNC-Chapel Hill who has been dubbed “the coronavirus hunter.”

Baric has been tracking coronaviruses for decades and working on medications to treat coronavirus-caused infections, including remdesivir, a drug that the FDA approved for COVID-19 treatment with an emergency use authorization earlier this month. Baric spoke recently with Terry and Joe Graedon, hosts of The People’s Pharmacy, and The State of Things features a special edition of that program today.

In the first 20 years of the 21st century, we're looking at five or six emerging coronaviruses that came out of bats.

Baric is the William R. Kenan Jr. distinguished professor of microbiology and immunology at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. He talks with the Graedons about how the virus jumped from bats to people and how it replicates. He also shares his predictions for the next stages of the pandemic.