Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Complete Guide

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), A Complete Guide: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment – The contagious virus is spreading rapidly and has become a pandemic all over the globe. The first case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was observed in early December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. On 30 January 2020, a global health emergency was enforced by the World Health Organization (WHO) to tackle the severity of the issue.

There is a need to start an awareness campaign to control the novel coronavirus outbreak and to guide the people to avoid serious consequences. Therefore, the article is designed to share a complete guide about novel coronavirus, its causes, precautionary measures. Symptoms, the latest development in the treatment of novel coronavirus.

Background of COVID-19

When we talk about coronavirus, it includes a large group of viruses which cause mild to moderate respiratory infections in humans and animals such as camels, bats, cattle, civets. The coronavirus that infects humans and spread from person to person contact (through an airborne droplet of infected individuals) cause mild to moderate cold.

The name of the coronavirus is given because of the presence of distinct projections of corona or ‘crowns of sugary protein’ from the envelope of the virus (in the 1960s).  The longest genome of single-stranded RNA based coronavirus comprised of roughly 26,000 to 32,000 bases. The known genus of coronavirus, Alphacoronavirus and Betacoronavirus infect only mammals such as bats, cats, pigs and humans. Deltacoronavirus infects mammals and birds whereas Gammacoronovirus is known to infect birds only.

In animals, coronaviruses can cause diarrhoea (turkey and pig) and cold. In rare cases, animal coronavirus can evolve to infect humans. Some of the severe respiratory diseases spread through coronaviruses are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS – 2002) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS – 2012).

Biology of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A novel coronavirus – 2019 is the newly evolved strain of coronavirus that was first reported in Wuhan City, China in the patients with the complaint of pneumonia. It is also named as Wuhan coronavirus or 2019 Chinese novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Recently assigned named of this contagious virus is COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). The contagious virus causes severe respiratory issues in humans such as 2019 Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The virus is the culprit of the recent coronavirus outbreak in China.

coronavirus-COVID-19

After genomic sequencing, it is identified as a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus has 79.5% genetic similarity to SARS-CoV and 96% to Bat Coronavirus. The novel coronavirus infected cases were linked to the seafood and animal market in Wuhan, China.

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How was COVID-19 transmitted to humans?

There is little known about the novel coronavirus because it is first of its kind and has not been previously reported in humans. According to studies, COVID-19 might be a recombinant virus of bat coronavirus (origin in bat) and coronavirus with unknown origin. Recently coronavirus with similar genome was detected in pangolin (scaly mammal).

However, the confirmed origin of COVID-19 is still uncertain. Earlier, COVID-19 was suggested to have bat origins like SARS and MERS. However, after DNA encoding of the spike protein of the coronavirus, snake (Chinese krait and Chinese cobra) found to be the most probable cause of transmission of novel coronavirus to humans.

Afterwards, the protein sequencing analysis showed that as the coronaviruses infect snakes, bats, hedgehogs, human, etc. and snakes in wild mostly preys upon bats then pangolin (as recent reports). There is also a possibility that the snake must have eaten an infected bat which was later transmitted to humans due to the contact of an infected snake with humans.

Although there is still a need for further research to verify the reports and to know about more specific detail to deter the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Novel Coronavirus Transmission:      Infected Bat – Snake – Human

(The spikes present on the virus envelope recognize the host cells of coronavirus which indicated that bat coronavirus was infected before transmission to human).

Person to Person COVID-2019 Transmission

There is still to be known about the person to person transmission of COVID-2019. However, it seems to be transmitted through air droplets of the infected person, cough, sneezing or by exhaling infected air. The incubation period of novel coronavirus is 2 to 14 days. It is the time when the virus starts to show its symptoms in individuals. The virus can also be transmitted during the incubation period.

As per recent reports, the COVID-2019 can be transmitted through air droplets and can remain suspended in the air up to 3 hours.

Symptoms of COVID-19

The prior identification of the novel coronavirus might be difficult due to the flu-like symptoms of COVID-2019. Such as

  • Fever (common)
  • Breathing difficulty (common)
  • Dry Cough (common)
  • Sore Throat (less common)
  • Tiredness (less common)
  • Muscle pain (less common),
  • The disease can also penetrate without showing any symptom (asymptomatic)

In severe cases, pneumonia in the lungs, the acute respiratory syndrome can lead to sepsis or septic shock which can also lead to death. The person with chronic condition becomes vulnerable to other severe diseases. Monitor yourself, if you are having the above symptoms then get yourself tested and contact public health care.

Note: If you have recently travelled to China, any other country or had contact with the sick person, dead animals or visited the seafood market and having above symptoms then immediately contact the local health care authorities.

Preventive Measures and Precautions

Most of the reported COVID-2019 cases are children and elder (people with the weaker immune system). Take healthy food and liquids for a healthy immune system, people with weaker immune are more susceptible to viral diseases. Therefore, take foods that can help to boost your immune system (garlic and ginger decoction, Vit C and juices). The COVID-2019 cannot tolerate heat so drink warm water (as much as you can) and take steam to disinfect yourself.

Note: The virus is lipid enveloped, therefore, you can use alcohol-based sanitizers or soaps (better option) to stay safe. The much better choice is to stay clean and isolated because you can carry it from anywhere.

Masks are not effective hence their pore size is larger than COVID-2019. Already sick people are advised to wear masks. 

Take the following preventive measures to stay safe:

  • Avoid person to person contact (especially in subways and outdoors) 
  • Avoid the contact and do not visit markets and place with live or dead animals
  • Do not leave home if you are feeling tired or sick
  • Wash your hand regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and use Sanitizers (with 60% alcohol)
  • Use antibiotic soaps or (60%) alcohol-based disinfectants after contact with the animal, before eating and after using toiled
  • Do not touch your nose, eyes or mouth with dirty hands
  • Do not touch or come in contact with droppings or animal waste
  • Wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose to avoid contact with air droplet
  • Cover mouth and nose during coughing and sneezing
  • Take hygienic food, eat well-cooked meat and eggs (do not eat raw food)
  • Avoid contact with the sick person or the person showing above symptoms or respiratory problems

Treatment of COVID-2019

The novel coronavirus COVID-2019 is a newly identified virus, its specific treatment or vaccine is yet to be made. Patients are given supportive care (fluid management, antivirals, oxygen therapy) like other coronavirus related diseases.

Latest Reports About Novel Coronavirus Treatment

According to the recent trial in the United Stated (on first confirmed novel Cronovirus case) the patients were given a combination of anti-HIV drugs, the patients got better in 4 days.

After the successful trial in the United States, the drugs (medication of flu and HIV) also helped 2 patients in Thailand, the treatment was stopped in one patient after the allergic reaction.

After testing novel coronavirus positive patients with drugs and 10 days of care the result was negative in 48 hours. The Chinese are also planning to perform an anti-HIV drug (lopinavir and ritonavir) trials. However, scientists are still trying to find a cure for novel coronavirus – 2019. Some of the countries have also claimed about the vaccine formation but they are still under the trial stage.

Conclusion

COVID-19 is a newly discovered coronavirus species, identified in Wuhan, China. The thousands of cases of COVID-19 are found in China, the United States, Italy and many other countries. The mortality rate of infected patients is recorded roughly up to 2%. The patient with COVID-19 show symptoms like cold which further leads to acute respiratory disease and death.

The virus is transmitted through contact with animals, infected air droplets or the contact with the sick person. Take preventive measures and eat healthy food to avoid the disease. Scientists and doctors are still trying to find the vaccine or cure for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Do not leave home, stay healthy!

 

Source: World Health Organization

Nadia

Botanist (MS)

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