History and all you need to know about Coronavirus!

ADELEYE Adébimpe

ADELEYE Adébimpe

Chargé de rédaction d'article en anglais

What is Coronavirus?

Corona viruses are a group of viruses that can affect animals and humans. They are a form of enveloped viruses; this means that the protein casing that houses the genetic material of the virus is surrounded by a phospholipid membrane that is very similar to the membrane of a human cell.  Corona viruses are a type of single-stranded RNA (Ribonucleic acid) virus.

The name Corona virus is derived from a Latin word called Corona which means a crown, or a halo. The electron microscope images of the corona virus looks like a crown or a halo.

Antecedents

There are dozens of different types of corona viruses that affect animals in the world, seven types of these corona viruses can affect humans and they all cause respiratory tract infections. Some of these were identified in the 1960s. People get infected with four of these coronaviruses, these four are some of the viruses that cause the common cold along with other viruses like rhino viruses and parainfluenza;

  • 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  • NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  • OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  • HKU1 (beta coronavirus

Two other coronaviruses have been known for a while and cause more serious respiratory disease like; the Severe Acute Respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) which caused the outbreak of respiratory diseases (8000+ individuals in which 774 deaths) between 2002 and 2003 in China and the Middle East Respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) first reported in 2012 and continues to cause infections around the Arabian Peninsula. Both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV emerged from the animal Kingdom this means that the virus started as an animal virus but was able to infect the humans around the vicinity and then the infected humans were able to pass the virus to other humans.

The new virus 2019

In late 2019, a new coronavirus emerged, it was formerly called 2019 Novel Coronavirus (nCoV 2019), before it was named COVID-19 in February 2020. It is a new version of coronavirus that likely started in an animal source, but now spreading from human-to-human. Genetic analysis revealed that it likely emerged from a virus related to SARS-CoV. 

What says the stats? ,

Originated from the Wuhan city in China, this virus has caused the death of 1384 people and 64 472 confirmed cases (in which 11 cases in France) as of February 14, 2020. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has declared the virus a global health emergency.

Symptoms and treatment ?

The transmission of this disease is like the common cold and influenza (coughing, sneezing… transmission between close contacts) transmission. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
There are no current recommended antiviral medication treatments for COVID-19, supportive care is the mainstay of treatment which is directed at alleviating the symptoms.

How about prevention ?

There is currently no vaccine available for the virus, the prevention efforts are the same as those aimed at preventing the spread of other respiratory viruses:

-washing hands with soap and water;
-Avoid touching face with unwashed hands;
-stay home when feeling sick;
-Avoid contact with those who are sick;
-cover sneezes/coughs and disinfect objects and surfaces around us.

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