Since December 2019, Coronavirus has been ravaging the planet earth. Thankfully, coronavirus breakthrough is very close because we’ve been receiving a lot of positive news about coronavirus vaccine and coronavirus cure.
Public health experts around the world are scrambling to understand and contain Coronavirus that appeared in Wuhan, China in December 2019. The WHO (World Health Organization) named it COVID-19, which references the type of virus and the year it emerged. In fact, the World Health Organization has declared the virus a Pandemic.
A novel strain of Coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 – was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, a China’s Hubei province with a population of 1 million, after an outbreak of pneumonia without an apparent cause. Currently, the virus is spreading fast across the world and the whole world is looking for ways to contain it.
What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. This virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that world is yet to be able to contain. Even the most powerful countries have not been able to contain the spread.
This virus belongs to a family of single-stranded RNA viruses known as coronaviridae, a common type of virus which affects, birds, reptiles and mammals. In human, it commonly causes mild infections, similar to the common cold and accounts for 10 to 30 percent of upper respiratory tract infections in the adult.
More serious infections are rare, although Coronavirus can cause neurological and enteric disease. The incubation period of this virus varies but is generally up to 2 weeks. Previous coronavirus outbreaks include the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), first reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), identified in southern China in 2003.
MERS infected about 2,500 people and caused the death of about 850 people while SARS infected over 8,000 people and caused the death of around 800 people. The case fatality rates for these conditions were 35 percent and 10 percent respectively.
COVID-19 is a new strain of Coronavirus that hasn’t been previously identified in human. Although its incubation period is currently unknown, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the symptom may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Chinese researchers have indicated that COVID-19 may be infectious during its incubation period.
Where has the new Coronavirus come from?
Currently, its original origin is not known, but the virus was understood to have originated in a food market in Wuhan, China and subsequently spread from animal to human. Many research has claimed that the cross-species transmission may be between snake and human; however, this claim has been contested.
Previous coronavirus outbreaks have indicted mammals such as bats and camels, but it’s not yet clear the real animal origin, if any, of COVID-19.
How contagious is COVID-19?
Based on the number of people being diagnosed, healthcare professionals have indicated that person-to-person spread of Coronavirus is occurring. According to the current estimation, each infected individual could infect between 1.4 and 2.5 people.
COVID-19, like other respiratory tract infections such as SARS and MERS, spread by respiratory droplets produced by an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It is also possible that a person gets COVID-19 by touching objects or surface that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose, but this is not thought to be the primary way the virus spreads.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
How deadly is Coronavirus?
With over 8,600 recorded deaths since the virus started in December 2019, the number of fatalities from this new Coronavirus has surpassed the toll of the 2002/2003 SARS outbreak. SARS killed around 9% of those infected – about 800 people worldwide and more 300 in China alone.
MARS, which didn’t spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of the people infected. While the new COVID-19 is more widespread than SARS in term of case numbers, the mortality rate remains considerably lower at approximately 3.4%, according to WHO.
What are the severe complications from Coronavirus?
Some patients have pneumonia in both lungs, multi-organ failure and in some cases, death.
Coronavirus breakthrough: coronavirus vaccine
Scientists around the world are working hard to make a coronavirus vaccine. A team of Melbourne scientists believe they have discovered how the human body overcomes the COVID-19. The team of Doherty institute researchers has, for the first time, mapped the way a patient’s immune system responds to the virus.
The team hope that the world-first coronavirus breakthrough will fast-track treatments and vaccines, and help determine those at risk of dying from the virus. Researchers have also discovered that healthy people can expect to fight off the virus in just three days.
Also, a team of Canadian scientists has successfully isolated and grown copies of the virus – bringing the world a step closer to finding a coronavirus vaccine to fight the deadly disease. Researchers from the Sunnybrook Research Institute, the University of Toronto and McMaster University were able to isolate and replicate the virus in a lab using samples taken from two Canadian patients.
The lab-grow copies will now be able to help scientists study the pathogen to develop better diagnostic testing, treatments, vaccines and gain a better understanding of its biology, the team said in a statement.
Meanwhile, eight institutes are working on five approaches to inoculations in effort to combat COVID-19. Chinese officials say it could result in a coronavirus vaccine ready for emergency situations and clinical trial next month.
How can I help protect myself from Coronavirus?
People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness with everyday preventive actions.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
How do you keep from spreading the illness to others if you are sick?
- Stay at home when you are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
- Cover your sneeze or cough with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Will I turn to a zombie if I have Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is not a zombie plague, despite the rumours being spread around on social media. Malaysia health ministry dismissed the rumour in a tweet, saying, “The claim that individuals infected with the virus will behave like zombies is not true.”
A lot of posts in Malaysia on social media have wrongly claimed the infected people will turn into zombies. Police have arrested six people for spreading misinformation about the virus.
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How is COVID-19 diagnosed?
As this Coronavirus affects the respiratory tract, common presenting symptoms include fever and dry cough, with some patients presenting with respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, malaise, headache and myalgia) or even struggling for breath.
In severe cases, the Coronavirus can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death.
The case definition for COVID-19 was amended on 13 March 2020 and is now based on symptoms regardless of travel history or contact with confirmed cases. Diagnosis is suspected in patients requiring admission to hospital with signs and symptoms of pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome or influenza, and in those with a new, continuous cough or fever who are well enough to stay in the community. A diagnostic test has been developed, and countries are quarantining suspected cases.
What should I do if I recently travelled from an area with an ongoing spread of COVID-19?
If you have travelled from an affected area, there may be restrictions on your movements for up to 2 weeks. If you develop symptoms during that period (fever, cough, trouble breathing), seek medical advice. Call the office of your health care provider before you go, and tell them about your travel and your symptoms. They will give you instructions on how to get care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, don’t go out and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading the disease to others.
Is there a vaccine?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
Is there a treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.
The bottom line
While scientists are still looking for the coronavirus vaccine as we begin to see coronavirus breakthrough, you have the responsibility of protecting yourself by self-isolating. Keep social distance, always wash your hands with water & soap, sanitize your hands and cover your nose.