This is a family of viruses that contain strains that can bring about dangerous diseases in birds and mammals. Coronavirus is spread to humans by airborne droplets of fluid, which are of people who have been infected. Some rare, but of course very notable strains of this virus are:
- Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
- SARS (viruses causing severe acute respiratory syndrome)
- (MERS) Middle East respiratory syndrome
The above 3 viral strains can bring about death in human beings.
Four Known Genuses
In the Coronavirus family, there are four known genuses, and these are:
- Alphacoronavirus: Only mammals are infected by this. These include humans, pigs, cats, and bats.
- Betacoronavirus: Mammals only are infected by this. Included are humans, bats, cats, and pigs.
- Gammacoronavirus: Mostly, this infects birds like poultry.
- Deltacoronavirus: This infects both mammals and birds.
This virus can give rise to a number of symptoms, and these could vary in different animals. Some strains of this virus can cause diarrhea in turkeys and pigs. But most of the time, the infection can be compared with a bad cold, bringing about upper respiratory problems which are mild to moderate, such as a sore throat and a runny nose.
Some of the other symptoms of Coronavirus are:
- Difficult breathing.
- Impaired kidney and liver function.
- Kidney failure.
- Severe cough.
The incubation period of the virus is not known.
Since initial outbreaks of this virus, WHO (World Health Organization), has been able to identify 2,500 infected cases, in 27 countries and almost 860 deaths.
So yes, this virus is deadly!
At the moment, there is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus infection. The best way in which you can avoid being infected by this virus is by avoiding getting exposed to it. But, these are some day to day actions you could adopt, to prevent yourself from getting infected by this virus:
- Do not get into close contact with people who are ill.
- If your hands are not clean, do not touch your mouth, nose, and eyes.
- Clean, as well as disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, by using a normal household cleaning spray.
- If you are ill, ensure that you stay at home.
- When you cough or sneeze, cover it with a tissue and then dispose of the tissue in the trash bin.
- Wash your hands often, with soap and water, for a minimum of 20 seconds. More so, before eating, after going to the washroom and after sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose.
- If there is no soap and water to wash your hands, then you need to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which has a minimum of at least 60% alcohol in it. But if your hands are visibly dirty, you need to wash them with soap and water.
People who have been infected with the 2019-nCoV (Coronavirus), in order to help relieve symptoms, need to get supportive care. If the case is severe, the treatment will be inclusive of care being given to support the functions of vital organs.
If you feel that you have been infected by this virus, you must immediately get in touch with a doctor or go to the nearest hospital.
In the 1960s, this virus was first described in detail. The virus gets its name from a unique ‘crown’ of sugary-proteins or corona, which projects from the envelope which surrounds the particle. It is believed that the latest version of this virus has its origins somewhere in China. Perhaps more precisely, the origins of the virus could lie in a cave in the southern Yunnan province of China.
According to Linfa Wang, of Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School,
“I have 90% confidence it is a bat-borne virus.”
Linfa Wang works with a group of researchers who are sometimes referred to as ‘the bat pack.’ Linfa Wang has studied human viruses of bat origins, since decades. A colleague of Linfa Wang, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, has found that the new Coronavirus is more than 96% genetically akin to a bat virus which has been found in the Yunnan province in southern China.
It is now believed that this new Coronavirus is a remote cousin of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), and it shares as much as 80% of its genetic sequence. SARS is another Coronavirus which ravaged China and a number of other countries in 2002 and 2003 and, in the process, killed over 800 people all over the world.
In the new outbreak of this virus, over 49 of 99 of the early patients discovered, were associated with a market in Wuhan, and this market also sold wild animals. This market has now been shut down.
At the time of writing this, it was reported that this virus had infected 11,791 people in China. But as per the state media of China, thousands more are suspected to be infected with this virus. The latest fatalities of this virus are from the Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital and the epicenter of the outbreak. Disease modeling experts project that there are around 75,000 or more people who are now infected with this virus.
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