Viruses have always posed a health risk to humans and animals since time immemorial. There are many known and unknown viruses that threaten the health and well being of human life around the world. The Novel CoronaVirus(2019-nCoV) is the latest type of virus that was recently discovered in Wuhan, China.
Advancement in the field of medicine has helped to identify and reduce the spread of the virus and also create antiviral drugs and medicines to boost immunity. But Antibiotics have a limited effect on viruses.
A virus is basically a biological agent that can reproduce inside the cells of the living hosts. When infected by a virus the host cell produces thousands of identical copies of the original virus at a very fast rate. Viruses do not have cells that divide like most living things. New viruses are assembled in the infected host cell.
Unlike other infectious agents, viruses contain genes that give them the ability to mutate and evolve. There are over 5,000 species of viruses that have been discovered so far. Viruses are among the smallest infectious agents and most of them can be only seen under an electron microscope. Their sizes range from 20 to 300 nanometer.
What is Coronavirus?
The coronaviruses were first identified in the early 1960s. We do not have a clear idea about where they came from but they get their name from their crown-like shape.
- Sometimes a coronavirus can infect both humans and animals.
- Generally, most of the coronaviruses spread the same way as other cold-causing viruses do.
- It happens when infected people cough or sneeze or touch an infected person’s hands or face.
- Even touching the doorknobs touched by an infected person can cause the spreading of the virus.
- Most people get some type of coronavirus infection at least once in their life. In the USA they are common in the fall and winter.
- The coronavirus causes upper respiratory infection symptoms like a stuffy nose, cough and sore throat.
You can treat them with rest and over the counter medication. It can also cause middle ear infection in children.
Information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses or the upper throat. Basically, most coronaviruses are not dangerous. But some of them can cause serious health issues.
In 2003, there was a SARs(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) breakout and 774 people had died. About 858 people had died from the MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and few countries in the middle east and Asia. MERs and SARs are types of coronavirus.
Some Quick Facts:
- The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originated in Wuhan, the largest city in central China, with a population of over 11 million people.
- Germany, Japan and Taiwan have reported the first cases in patients who personally did not visit China but still contracted the virus from someone else who had visited Wuhan, China.
- The is a probability of the infection passed on to humans from bats since they are the natural reservoirs of many such viruses including the SARs and MERs
- “Bats are host to a significantly higher proportion of zoonoses than all other mammalian orders.” Zoonoses are diseases that spill over from animals to humans.
- About 6000 people have been infected till date and 136 deaths have been reported from China.
- The virus has spread to more than 17 countries so far.
What Causes Coronavirus?
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a virus which has been identified as the main cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.
- Initially, there was some link to an animal market and large seafood market that suggested that it had spread from animal to human.
- But since a growing number of patients without exposure to the animal market contracted the disease it has been indicating a person to person transmission.
- The first case was reported in early December 2019.
- It is still unclear how easily or sustainably this virus can spread between people.
- The WHO (world health organization identified it as a new virus type ( Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
In late January 2020, there were 300 confirmed cases in China. Major airports around the world have started screening the symptoms and few cases were reported in Japan, Thailand, India, Germany, Canada and the USA.
Some Common Coronavirus Symptoms
The most common coronavirus symptoms are similar to any other upper respiratory infection. It includes
- Runny Nose
- Sore Throat
- Shortness Of Breath
Sometimes it is not clear whether a person is affected by the coronavirus or the cold-causing virus rhinovirus. It is possible to do some lab tests including nose and throat cultures and blood work to perform coronavirus diagnosis and determine whether the cold was caused by a coronavirus.
If a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract then it can cause pneumonia. This happens especially in older people or people with a weaker immune system. The Novel coronavirus vaccine will take at least one year to develop.
How to Prevent Coronavirus Transmission And Reduce Exposure to the Virus?
The WHO (World Health Organisation) has released a standard recommendation for the general public in order to reduce exposure and prevent coronavirus transmission. These include general hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices.
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand sanitizer or with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds;
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue and throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough. Wear a good facial mask covering your nose and mouth;
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek good medical care early and share previous travel history with your healthcare provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of a novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk, eggs or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
Treatment for coronavirus 2019-nCov
The antiviral treatment for coronavirus 2019-n CoV is currently not specified. People who are infected with this virus need supportive care to help them relieve the symptoms. If the case is severe the treatment should include care to support the vital organs.
- Take some pain and fever medications (Caution: Do Not give Aspirin to children)
- Use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to ease the sore throat and the cough
- Drink lots of water and take adequate rest to recover
- Visit a healthcare expert if symptoms worsen or aggravate
We are facing some unprecedented challenges in tackling new and emerging diseases. Wuhan in China has been the epicentre of the current outbreak. The city has been isolated and has come to a standstill.
Scientists are working round the clock to find effective cures and medicines. They also need to create the right vaccines to prevent such viral outbreaks. Society needs to gear up and maintain good hygiene at home and public places and avoid risky situations and unhygienic places.
“Prevention is Better than Cure”
A collective and focused effort by global governments and the public will help to contain the spread of such dangerous diseases. We need to spread more awareness and important information among people and also dispel the myths surrounding such diseases. People need to come together forgetting their differences to fight any such threats affecting humanity.
This article about the Novel Coronavirus was written, only for informative purposes based on research and news available, about the spread of this virus during the initial stages. Kindly visit the WHO (World Health Organization) official website or contact a medical expert for any specific updated information, guidelines and solutions regarding handling the spread of the virus or treatment required for this disease.