Coronavirus:- What is flashing global fear of the Novel Coronavirus
What is flashing global fear of the novel coronavirus – The current outbreak of infections with a novel form of coronavirus has caused global fear and concern that the virus could spread too far and too quickly and cause drastic harm before health officials can find a way to stop it. In December last year, reports began to emerge that a coronavirus that specialists had never before seen in humans had begun to spread among the population of Wuhan, an outsized city within the Chinese province of Hubei.
Since then, the virus has spread to other countries, both in and outside Asia, leading authorities to explain this as an epidemic. At the end of January this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the state to be a public health emergency.
To date, the novel coronavirus — currently dubbed “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2,” or SARS-CoV-2 for brief — has been responsible for 78,191 infections in China and 2918 across 37 other world countries. In China, the virus has so far triggered 2,718 deaths. It also led to at least one fatality within the Philippines.
But what can we really realize this virus? and the way is it likely to affect the worldwide population?
Medical News Today has contacted the WHO, used the information that public health organizations have accessible, and checked out the most recent studies that have featured in peer-reviewed journals to answer these and other questions from our readers.
What’s the new virus?
SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus that triggers coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19). Coronaviruses, generally, are a family of viruses that focus on and affect mammals’ respiratory systems. Consistent with their specific characteristics, there are four main “ranks” (genera) of coronaviruses, which are called alpha, beta, delta, and gamma.
Most of these only affect animals, but few can also can pass to humans. people who are transmissible to humans belong to only two of those genera: Alpha and Beta.
Only two coronaviruses have previously caused global outbreaks. The first of these was the SARS coronavirus — liable for the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) — which first started spreading back in 2002, also in China. The SARS virus epidemic primarily affected the populations of China and Hong Kong, and it died off in 2003.
The other one was the MERS coronavirus — or Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus — which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
This virus has affected a minimum of 2,494 people since then.
Who to test:
PHO Laboratory will accept specimens for COVID-19 testing from individuals meeting criteria for an individual under investigation (PUI) or probable case for COVID-19 as outlined by the Ministry of Health.Clinical presentations that don’t fit case definition, but are considered in danger of COVID-19 by the assessing clinician also will be accepted for testing. PHO isn’t presently endorsing routine testing of asymptomatic persons for COVID-19.
Mandatory data accompanying testing requests:
The following mandatory information is included on the PHO Laboratory requisition:
- Whether the specific meets criteria for a person under investigation (yes/ no)
- Travel history (country and dates)
- Contact of the case or probable case (yes/no); if no, other sick contacts (yes/no; if yes, describe)
- Symptom onset date
- Clinical information (e.g. fever, cough, rhinorrhea, pneumonia)
- Patient setting (inpatient – ICU or ward, hospitalized, ER not admitted, physician office/clinic, institution or outpatient)
Specimen collection recommendations:
- A) Patients not admitted to hospital (including those in ER)
- A single upper respiratory tract specimen will be accepted for COVID-19 testing. Upper respiratory tract specimens include a nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) OR viral throat swab collected in universal transport medium. NPS is preferred over a viral throat swab – information available to date suggests that an NPS has higher sensitivity than a throat swab for COVID-19 detection.
- B) In-patients
For in-patients, it is recommended to collect a minimum of two specimens, from two different sites:
- Upper respiratory tract: submit both a nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) AND viral throat swab collected in the universal transport medium.
- Lower respiratory tract specimens: submit when possible.
- Sputum: collect if the patient has a productive cough. Do not induce.
Serology for COVID-19 is not available.
Where did the virus originate?
When humans do become infected with a coronavirus, this typically occurs via contact with an infected animal.
Some of the most common transporters are bats, although they are doing not typically transmit coronaviruses on to Instead, the transmission might occur via an “intermediary” animal, which can usually — though not always — be a domestic one.
The SARS coronavirus increases to humans via civet cats, while the MERS virus spread via dromedaries. However, it is often difficult to work out the animal from which a coronavirus infection first starts spreading.
In the case of the novel coronavirus, initial reports from China tied the outbreak to a seafood market in central Wuhan. As a result, local authorities closed down the market on January 1.
However, later assessments have since suggested that this market was doubtful to be the only source of the coronavirus outbreak, as a number of the people infected with the virus had not been frequenting the market.
Specialists haven’t yet been ready to determine the real source of the virus or maybe confirm whether there was one original reservoir.
How is the virus transmitted?
While it likely originated in animals, the transmission of the new coronavirus from person to person can occur, though some questions on its transmission remain unanswered.
According to the WHO spokespeople who skilled MNT queries, “[r]esearchers are still studying the precise parameters of human-to-human transmission.”
“In Wuhan at the start of the outbreak, some people became ill from exposure to a source, presumably an animal, carrying the disease. This has been monitored by transmission between people,” they explained, adding:
“As with other coronaviruses, the transmission is through the respiratory route, meaning the virus is concentrated within the airways (nose and lungs) and may pass to a different person via droplets from their nose or mouth, for instance. We still need more analysis of the epidemiological data to know the complete extent of this transmission and the way people are infected.”
In a press briefing from February 6, WHO consultant Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said that, for now, “[w]e do know that mild individuals shed virus, we know that severe individuals shed the virus. […] We know that the more symptoms you have, the more likely you are to transmit.”
In an interview for the JAMA Network — also broadcast on February 6 — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that based on data that they have received from Chinese specialists, the new coronavirus’s “incubation period is probably between 5 and 6 — may be closer to 5 — days.“
That is, the virus expected takes about 5–6 days to give rise to symptoms once it has infected a person.
Although the WHO notes that experts estimate that the novel virus’s incubation period may last anywhere between 1 and 14 days, they suggest in their coronavirus Q&A section that the most likely duration is about 5 days.
How can we prevent infection?
Official WHO prevention guidelines suggest that to avoid infection with the coronavirus, individuals should apply the same best practices for personal hygiene that they would keep any other virus at bay.
According to the WHO spokespeople who replied to MNT queries:
“Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering [the] mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, [and] thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.”
As for wearing protective masks, WHO guidelines state that people need only do this if they are caring for someone who has COVID-19.
Masks should cover the nose and mouth and be tightly secured. People should thoroughly wash their hands before putting on a new mask, make sure that they dispose of used masks appropriately, and clean their hands once again after removing them.
How is the virus treated?
There are presently no embattled, specialized treatments for infections resulting from the new coronavirus. When doctors detect a SARS-CoV-2 infection, they aim to treat the symptoms as they arise.
In the WHO Q&A, Dr. Van Kerkhove explained that “[b]ecause this is a new virus, we don’t have specific treatments for that virus. But because this virus causes respiratory disease, those symptoms are treated.“
“Antibiotics won’t work against a virus,” she also emphasized
What steps are researchers taking?
In the same Q&A, Dr. Van Kerkhove noted that “there are treatments that are in development” for the new coronavirus. Over the years, she said, “many treatments [have been] checked out to treat other coronaviruses, just like the MERS coronavirus.”
“And hopefully, those treatments can [also] be useful for the novel coronavirus,” she continued.
There are currently clinical trials underway to seek out treatment and a vaccine against the MERS coronavirus, which, if successful, could lay the groundwork for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and COVID-19 treatment.
Some scientists also are experimenting with using antiretroviral therapy, which may be a treatment for HIV, against the new virus. But why might these sorts of treatments hold any promise when it involves fighting off this coronavirus?
According to some studies, the mixture of antiretroviral drugs that scientists are experimenting with — lopinavir and ritonavir — is in a position to attack a specialized molecule that HIV and coronaviruses both use to duplicate.
Another supposedly promising avenue is using baricitinib — a drug that doctors use to treat arthritis — against the new coronavirus. The researchers who came up with this concept explain that it’s likely that SARS-CoV-2 can infect the lungs by interacting with specific receptors present on the surface of some lung cells.
But such receptors also are present on some cells within the kidneys, blood vessels, and heart. Baricitinib, the researchers say, could also be ready to disrupt the interaction between the virus and these key receptors. However, whether or not it’ll really be effective remains to be seen.
In a press conference from February 5, WHO officials explained investigators’ preference for experimenting with existing drugs in fighting off the new coronavirus.
Such drugs, they said, have already gained official approval to be used against other specifications, meaning that they’re largely safe. As a result, they have not undergone the extensive series of preclinical trials and clinical trials that new drugs require, which may take a really while indeed.
Where can I find out more?
To get more information about the new coronavirus outbreak and for extensive guidelines about best practices when dealing with the virus, here are a few international resources that you can access:
- WHO info hub
- CDC info hub
- European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) info hub
- Australian Government Department of Health resources
- BMJ latest news
- The Lancet resource center
- Nature article collection