What is Coronavirus and What Hazards Does it Present to Humans?
Due to the relative novelty of the 2019 coronavirus, it is too early to expect any studies. Everything we’ve got left is to appeal to the knowledge obtained during the prior struggles: first with SARS, and then with MERS. They are a single viral family after all. The 2019 COVID outbreak began in late December 2019 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The World Health Organization claims that this coronavirus was most likely unexpectedly “presented” to people by animals.
This is a completely new strain, doctors have not yet encountered it in humans. But it is already known that it, like SARS, affects the lungs, quickly causing viral pneumonia and deadly oxygen starvation of the entire body. Coronaviruses got their name because of the specific shape of the membrane. Its protein structure under the microscope resembles the solar corona.
The emission of viral particulate in the patient who contracted the disease can start as early as 2 days before the initial symptom onset. The viral shedding peaks around the three-day threshold. In fact, the sick patient is said to be shedding viral particles in a non-stop mode anywhere from 20 to 37 days since the onset of the illness. Therefore, the ventilation and air purification process should be constant.
What is a Virus?
Virus means poison in Latin. It is not a cell, it has a primitive structure, representing one or two DNA or RNA molecules (DNA and RNA-containing viruses) surrounded by a capsid (protein coat).
Due to this structure, a viral particle called a virion has the ability to penetrate into the cells of the body and cause pathological changes in them. Approaching a cell, it destroys its membrane and injects a strand of DNA or RNA into the cytoplasm. The repeated process of reproduction of viral DNA is duplicated at high speed. After the cell dies, many new viruses come out, capturing other cells very fast.
There you have it — the process of progression of the infection. Viruses are intracellular parasites; therefore, they cannot exist for long outside the cell. Like bacteria, they are practically present in any environment. They have the ability to infect humans, animals, plants. All types of cells are affected, and there are viruses that destroy bacterial cells and even other viruses.
It should be noted that each individual species affects only certain types of cells. For example, the hepatitis virus infects liver cells, HIV - cells of the immune system, coronavirus affects the lung’s soft tissue.
Traditional Virus-Fighting Methods
Traditional methods of combating viruses and bacteria include hygiene and sanitary-hygienic requirements for premises (regular wet cleaning, lack of clutter and litter, etc.). But the implementation of these principles does not allow to ensure 100% protection from the harmful effects of viruses and bacteria. Therefore, it is important to use disinfection treatment for their destruction in the room and on various surfaces.
The COVID-19 outbreak had taken off in China. It is probably a kind of danger humanity has not faced in a while. Coronavirus originated in bats and was contracted by a person who ate the bat (and probably regretted it after). The fact that animals can become a meal for the Chinese increases the transmission rates between biological species and chances of mutation.
Some Things do Look Bothersome
Image source: independent, international weekly general medical journal https://www.thelancet.com/infographics/coronavirus
The COVID-19 incubation period is 5 or 6 days on average. There is data on patients being contagious during the no-symptom period when monitoring of bodily temperature is useless. For today the infection factor from animals has proven to play a small role in the spread of the pandemic.
COVID-19: Determining Factors
The spread and deadliness of COVID-19 depend on several major factors. Let’s look into the details:
The first major factor can be considered the severity of the disease. On one hand, an ideal virus should cause greater severity, but over time, allowing the virus to spread while patients are still alive and can move around.
The second main factor is infectiousness (this is a complex parameter): how many people can infect a person, what radius of the patient’s path is dangerous, how many infection routes are there. How protection methods influence infectiousness.
The third major factor is the effect of the delayed effects of treatment and infection. In this case, the virus also has advantages. It’s hard to predict the hidden indicators.
The fourth major factor is mutability. Coronaviruses are more prone to it than other viruses. We should wait to see.
The fifth major factor is contagiousness during the incubation period and the incomplete manifestation of symptoms, or partial manifestation.
Sixth main factor: technical level of treatment. We, people of 2020, are lucky. If we encountered this type of coronavirus in the 1920s, the situation would probably be very different.
Seventh main factor: level of distribution: This is affected by the means of transportation, the number of people, the number of public events, etc. One of the most important elements can be typical places with vulnerable groups of the population. Places like these are hospitals, churches, markets.
Transmission vs Contagiousness
COVID-19 is transferred from person to person and is highly contagious, thus pretty different from SARS and MERS coronaviruses. Coronavirus 2019 basic reproduction number shows how many people manage to infect the patient during the time of an individual is sick. If the number is 1 and lower the epidemic settles down on its own. 2 and higher determines how fast the epidemic will be onset and if a pandemic is possible. With measles, the reproduction rate varies from 11 to 17. Flu has it around 2 or 3.
The latest COVID-19 data claims that the virus’s contagiousness varies within a range of 3.5 to 5.51. These numbers are unfortunately very high and are depicted in the growth speed of patients numbers.
Coronavirus clinical picture is flu-like with cough and fever. These are followed by breathing problems on day 8 or 9. Acute respiratory syndrome develops right after. The virus causes very severe pneumonia. It also destroys pulmonary alveoli cells on its way. There are risks of bacterial infection complications
At the moment, we’re talking 7807 deaths and 191127 confirmed cases.
The worst part of this situation is a large percentage of patients who need intensive care. These patients cannot lie at home and drink tea and honey. They need hospitalization, mechanical ventilation, oxygen, and possibly reanimation. The fear is that the health system does not have the capacity to provide this number of beds and equipment to all those in need.
Not yet available. There is a lot of fake information online on interferon and stuff. But for now, it makes no sense to stimulate the immune system if the patient does not have time to synthesize antibodies to the failure of the respiratory system. Direct-acting drugs on the virus have not yet been studied. The treatment includes treating symptoms.
It comes down to rather standard procedures and routines. Wash your hands, avoid crowded places such as the subway. Try to avoid people who cough.
The usual medical masks are of the least efficacy. The recommended protective range is the HEPA filter type masks. The risks of contracting the COVID-19by conjunctiva still remain.
It may not happen very soon. The wildest guess is 2022-2023. In 2020 it will only get started on animal testing. If this stage is successful, then in 2021 it will start on public testing, 2022 will mark the replication and production stage, while 2023 is the year we all can start vaccinating. Most likely, everything will take longer, judging by the problems with past coronaviruses.
Report on 1099 Patients Observation
Report of a new COVID-19 study has been published. In this study, 1099 patients from 522 hospitals were monitored.
- The average age of hospitalized is 47;
- The category from 0 to 14 years old only took 0.9%, 15 to 49 years old category obtained 55%, the 50 to 64 years of age category took 29%, 15% of patients were over 65 years old;
- 65% of patients never smoked;
- virus incubation period: minimum - 3 days, maximum - 24 days.
Also, it turns out many infected patients, who spent 2 weeks in quarantine can still continue to infect further. The viral nodes are said to be further distributed by the patient. The shedding period is proven to last up to 37 days since the onset.
Everything is sad, alas. While I am full of pessimism and really hope that I am wrong. So far, it looks like a heavy MERS with a high mortality rate, but with contagiousness above the flu. Given the latent period and the high connectivity of large cities, we can expect outbreaks in all major cities in the next week or two.
No need to respond to numerous fakes. Look for original scientific sources, for example:
National Center for Biotechnology Information
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Lancet Independent international medical journal
To cap this article we want to encourage you to follow simple rules in the attempt to fight and conquer. As World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “This is the time for facts, not fear. This is the time for science, not rumors. This is the time for solidarity, not stigma."