Coronavirus (Covid-19) Overview

Newly discovered family of coronavirus leading to illnesses like the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and middle east respiratory syndrome.

The first case of covid-19 was found in Wuhan, China in late 2019. This is believed that this new virus was found in the live food or seafood market of Wuhan. Researchers believe that covid19 first infected bats and then it started spreading to other animals and human beings after coming in contact with infected bats.

In late December 2019, China reported the first case of covid-19 infection and reported it to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new virus then started spreading rapidly all over the world and the WHO declared it a pandemic in March 2020. This virus is responsible for 100 million cases worldwide and 2 million deaths.

The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets. When a person comes in close contact with infected peoples, they contract the virus when the infected person sneezes or coughs without covering their mouth.

The newly discovered virus is named SARS-CoV-2. Corona is a Latin word that means halo or crown. This virus was named such due to the crown-like projections found on the pathogen’s surface.

Causes of Covid-19

Infections with SARS-CoV-2 cause coronavirus disease. The virus spreads among people easily. It spreads from person to person when they are in close contact (less than 6 feet). The virus spreads via respiratory droplets when the infected person sneezes, coughs, sings, talks, or breathes. These droplets are then inhaled by nearby people through the mouth or nose.

It can also spread if a person touches any surfaces or objects having a virus on them and then touches his or her face, mouth, nose, and eyes. A person can also contract the virus when being exposed to smaller aerosol or droplets that remain in the air. It is called airborne transmission.

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Coronavirus Symptoms

Coronavirus infects different persons in different ways. Most people will get moderate or mild illnesses but it can affect some people severely also. It takes 2 days to 14 days to show the symptoms after contracting the virus. Some common signs and symptoms of covid19 are

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Tiredness
  • Breathless

One among three persons who are infected does not experience any symptoms. Most of those patients who show symptoms are mild or moderately affected and sometimes they will get pneumonia. Moderately affected patients can experience other symptoms in addition to  the common symptoms like

Older age people are at higher risk of contracting the virus. The severity and risk increase with an increase in age. People with underlying medical problems may possess a higher risk of infection. Some diseases that increase the risk of illness from coronavirus are

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Asthma
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Sickle cell anemia

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Diagnosis

Covid 19 can be diagnosed in a similar way to other infections caused by viruses by using blood or saliva samples. However, some specific testing methods have been developed to diagnose coronavirus disease. The standard diagnostic method is by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or Rapid antigen testing. The RT-PCR test is done to detect the virus that causes covid19 whereas antigen testing is done to detect the proteins made by the viruses.

These tests require a swab of your nose or part of your throat behind your nose. These tests are performed by healthcare professionals on being suspected to contract covid19. They will collect samples from your nose or throat using a Nasopharyngeal swab and then send it for analysis to a lab.

Coronavirus Treatment

Currently, there are no effective treatments available for infection caused by coronavirus disease. Most of the covid-19 cases are mild and they require treatment for their symptoms like fever, cough, and body pain. In this case, medicine like paracetamol and NSAIDs are used to relieve the symptoms.

Many treatments are under experimental clinical trials to treat the severe covid 19 cases. People having low oxygen saturation levels need hospitalization and are treated with glucocorticoid dexamethasone to reduce the risk of fatality. People who are unable to breathe need admission into ICU to support breathing.

The US Food Development authority has approved the covid19 treatment. For severe patients who need hospitalization, Remdesivir can be administered as an IV infusion to reduce the risk of death. Various monoclonal antibody medicines like bamlanivimab, casirivimab, and imdevimab are also approved by FDA.

The FDA has also approved convalescent plasma therapy for the treatment of seriously ill patients.

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Complications

As most people with covid-19 have moderate symptoms but this disease can cause severe medical complications and in some cases, it can even lead to death. Old-aged people and people with comorbidities are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from covid19. The most serious complication of covid19 is pneumonia.

Complications of covid19 are

  • Blood clotting
  • Acute kidney disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Multiple organ failure
  • Lung problems
  • Acute respiratory distress
  • Heart attack

Prevention

Various vaccines are being developed by many countries. These vaccines can help you prevent covid-19 infection and they can also reduce the severity of illness if you contract coronavirus.

You can take additional measures to ensure the risk of infection like

  • Avoid close contact with infected peoples
  • Keep at least 6 feet distance between you and others
  • Avoid social gathering and places not having proper ventilation
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Wear a face mask in public places to avoid the risk of transmission
  • Cover your nose and mouth properly while coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose, and eyes unnecessarily
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces like doorknobs, phone, laptops, switches, etc daily
  • Don’t go out unless it is very necessary

FAQs

Q1. What is coronavirus?

Ans. These are large groups of viruses that cause illness in animals and human beings like cold, SARS, and MERS.

Q2. What are common symptoms of covid-19?

Ans: Dry cough, fever, body ache

Q3. Who are at risk of serious illness?

Ans: People with comorbidities and pregnant women

Q4. How do I protect myself?

Ans: Clean your hands frequently, avoid contact with infected peoples, wear a mask in public places, cover your nose and mouth while sneezing

Q5. How long infection lasts?

Ans: 1 to 2 weeks

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