Table of Contents
ORIGIN OF CORONAVIRUS
In last weeks of 2019, when the world was ready to welcome the year 2020, many local hospitals in Wuhan, China reported an unusual number of cases who had severe pneumonia without clear cause and they were not responding to any form of existing vaccine or medicines, soon after a seafood market in Wuhan region was linked to all these cases.
This was a wholesale seafood market which has more than 1000 stalls selling fish, chicken, bats, snake, rabbit and many other wild animals, these cases showed a very high human to human transmission rate which was further increased as the days progressed.
An initial hypothesis was formulated that this was a new type of coronavirus that is evolved in the animals sold in the seafood market of Wuhan. This resulted in a fear that it could be similar to the SARS EPIDEMIC of 2002. Which infected 8000 people and killed 774, but they were all wrong because this was going to be much worse.
By early Jan 2020 about 59 suspected cases were picked up from all local hospitals in Wuhan and isolated in JINYINTANG hospital in Wuhan.
Out of these 59 suspected cases, 41 were confirmed with the 2019 novel coronavirus infection. Their isolation was too late and before they were isolated these confirmed cases already have infected 100’s of others that eventually infected 1000’s and thus starting the 2019 novel coronavirus epidemic.
What started as a local epidemic in central china quickly spread to involve all other Chinese provinces in a manner of a few weeks. This spread was accelerated by the Chinese New Year and thousands of tourists out of their homes.
The situation became very tense when cases in other countries were also reported which was transmitted by international travelers. The first cases were reported from Vietnam and soon after several new cases were reported from Germany, Thailand, Japan, Australia, United States, Russia and a dozen new countries leading to a global panic situation.
The epidemic caused its first death on Jan 09, 2020, At the time of writing this article the novel coronavirus epidemic has led to more the 4.5 lakh confirmed cases of which more than 15000 are serious.
More than 195 countries have been affected by major outbreaks in central china, Italy, Iran, U.S.A, Spain, Germany, and France. More than 22000 people have died due to this epidemic. You can imagine the gravity of the situation by looking at these facts.
- The WHO has declared the epidemic as a global health emergency as of 20 Jan 2020
- Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and American airlines all have completely suspended there flights to china
- Several other airline companies have severely reduced the number of daily flights.
- The US government has temporarily banned entry in the United States by any foreign national who has traveled to China in the past 14 days.
- China has placed its numerous cities in government Lock-down that in fact has quarantined millions of people.
- The Chinese stock market is constantly crashing and this has led to a global economic slowdown already.
FROM WHERE IT IS NAMED CORONA?
The word coronavirus is derived from a Latin word Corona meaning CROWN or HALO which refers to the characteristic appearance of this virus.
The virus consists of a core of a genetic material surrounded by an envelope of protein spikes. This gives it an appearance of a crown and crown in Latin means CORONA hence the name Coronavirus.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. These are RNA viruses with a genome of a 26-32 kilo basis.
New coronaviruses have been detected every few years with the first one being discovered in the 1960s which caused mild respiratory infections in chickens. Since then, a number of different coronaviruses have been discovered, mostly affecting birds, bats, and other small warm-blooded animals.
These viruses often get mutated in the animals they circulate and due to the close contact of humans with these animals, these viruses can jump from the animal to humans to start a new disease.
Many coronaviruses have already infected humans includes the SARS coronavirus which leads to the SARS epidemic in 2003, the MERS coronavirus and the human coronavirus NL-63, The latest edition of these names is the novel coronavirus informally known as the Wuhan coronavirus.
FROM WHERE CORONAVIRUS CAME FROM?
New viruses are detected all the time, it is known that coronavirus species circulate in a variety of animals sometimes these viruses can make a jump from animals to humans this is known as “spill over” and can be due to a number of reasons like,
- Mutation in the virus itself,
- Increased close contacts between humans and animals.
For example, the MERS coronavirus is known to be transmitted from Camels to humans and the SARS coronavirus from CATS.
The animal reservoir of the 2019 novel coronavirus is not clear yet. Many of the early coronavirus cases were linked to the South China Seafood market in Wuhan but the earliest documented case which has been traced back to 1st Dec had no connection to the market surprisingly.
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS SPREAD?
The most common way this virus is spreading is through droplet infection. It is when a person who is infected coughs, or sneezes and releases viral particles that remain suspended in the air and are picked up by another person.
It is also transmitted through things that an infected person has been closely in contact with. Like used towels, clothes, keys, door handles, etc.
Those who are at the highest risk are people who are in close contacts with animals like animal market workers and those who are taking care of infected people like family members, doctors, or nurses.
SYMPTOMS OF CORONAVIRUS
The WHO (World Health Organisation) has coined the term “2019 NCOV ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISEASE” to describe the disease caused by this virus. Indicating that most of the symptoms of the disease are related to the respiratory system.
There are a number of symptoms ranging from mild to severe
The mild cases can present fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
While, severe ones can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, and death.
DIAGNOSIS OF CORONAVIRUS
The most widely used test to detect the coronavirus infection is the PCR or the POLYMERASE CHAIN REACTION. This test detects the minute quantities of the genetic material of the virus and amplifies it so that it can be studied easily.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF CORONAVIRUS
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the 2019 novel coronavirus infection. The best way to prevent the infection of this virus is to avoid being exposed to it. however, some healthy habits can prevent spreading this virus-like
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,
- Covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing,
- Using an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol or more,
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, nose with unwashed hands,
- Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with people who are sick,
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Scientists believe that research of the MERS vaccine which was also a coronavirus will make this job easier and hospitals are testing anti-viral drugs to see if they have an impact.
HOW DEADLY IS CORONAVIRUS?
The ratio of deaths to known cases appears low. The figures are unreliable; it is far too simplistic to divide the number of deaths to the number of cases to calculate the death rate to get a figure of around 5% of the outbreak.
But it depends upon the range of factors like your age, sex, general health, and health system you are in. Thousands of patients are still being treated and don’t know whether any of those cases will die.
CAN YOU RECOVER FROM CORONAVIRUS?
The short answer to this question is absolute YES. Many of those who came in contact with coronavirus will experience only mild symptoms this include fever, coughing, and respiratory problems.
Most people are expected to make a full recovery but can pose a risk for elderly people and those with pre-existing problems like diabetes, or cancer.