Coronaviruses: Introduction, Types, History & NEW CORONAVIRUS 2019-nCov

Mehran Lone
Coronaviruses are the family of RNA viruses in the order known as Nidovirales. These are the significant viral pathogens in humans and animals. Corona- Prefix comes from the Latin word for crown which means coronaviruses are crown like in appearance.
Coronaviruses are classified into four types:
1) Alpha 2) Beta 3) Gamma 4) Delta
Coronaviruses which cause infection in humans are Alpha & Beta coronaviruses.
These coronaviruses are medium shaped viruses enveloping a positive stranded RNA. But these Coronaviruses have large viral RNA genome. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections.
History of infections:
1) Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS): 2002
It is a beta type of coronavirus which started in Guangdong province of china.
It is transmitted from bats to civets to humans.
Began in February 2003 and outbreak lasted till July, 2003. There were more than 8000 recorded cases and more than 750 deaths and the fatality rate was 9.6 %
2) Middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS) : 2012
It is also a beta coronavirus which started in Saudi Arabia. It is transmitted from Camels to Humans More than 2400 cases recorded, 850 deaths and fatality rate was 34.4% . There are almost 7 types of coronaviruses. The latest coronavirus which stared in China is known as 2019-nCov.
2019-nCov: It started in Wuhan city of Hubei province of China, which started infecting humans in December, 2019. It is also a type of beta coronaviruses. As per latest research, it transmitted from Bats or Snakes to Humans. Like other coronaviruses, it causes respiratory and gastrointestinal infections because it binds viral protein to respiratory and gastrointestinal cells.
2019-nCov: Signs and Symptoms
Incubation period: 2-14 days following exposure
Variable clinical presentation: • Asymptomatic / mild to severe illness to death
Common symptoms and signs: • Fever ( most common finding) • Cough, usually dry cough ( second most common finding) • Unusual Symptoms: • Shortness of breath’ • Sore throat • Headache • Confusion • Fatigue
20 % of individuals who get this coronavirus have critical illness, which can cause:
• Pneumonia • Renal failure • ARDS • Multiple Organ failure • Death
Laboratory findings: • Neutrophilia • Lymphopenia • Thrombocytopenia • Rise in ALT/AST levels • Increase LDH
Imaging: • Chest X-ray • CT- Scan
Detection: • Viral genome detection by RT-qPCR
Stages of transmission:• Imported Stage • Local transmission • Community transmission’ • Epidemic/Pandemic
Prevention: • Wash hands with soap and water; prefer alcohol based sanitizers. • Avoid close contact with sick patients • Avoid travel to affected areas • STAY AT HOME ( Most effective prevention )
Treatment: • No specific treatment
( Author is a freelancer. Views are his own, mehranlone1@gmail.com)

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COVID-19

India
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