The coronavirus that started from China is now a global issue that has to be taken very seriously even if your region is not affected by it. The outbreak of this virus is spreading rapidly and has already reached 23 different countries creating havoc. This virus is also known as “2019-nCoV” and has already infected more than 14,500 people and killed more than 300. We have already come across such instances earlier with another coronavirus called MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
WHO Director, General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has announced on Wednesday that – Although the numbers outside China are still relatively small, they hold the potential for a much larger outbreak.
The virus has caused panic waves across the globe and it is spreading very fast. The scientists are working on making a potential vaccine that is currently called “INO-4800 and have plans of testing it on humans by early summer.
2019-nCoV Global Cases – I have been closely following this outbreak and have been reporting the official numbers on a daily basis to give an update on the steps taken, the confirmed cases by country / region, total number of recovered patients based on the data from WHO, CDC, ECDC, NHC and DXY.
- 28th Jan – 2886
- 29th Jan – 5578
- 30th Jan – 7783
- 31st Jan – 9776
- 1st Feb – 11,374
- 2nd Feb – 14,556
- 3rd Feb – 17,650
- 4th Feb – 20,626
- 5th Feb – 24,607
- 6th Feb – 28,353
- 7th Feb – 31,472
The senior vice-president of research and development at Inovio – Kate Broderick has said that after China has provided the DNA sequence of the virus, they were able to put it through their lab’s computer technology and design a vaccine within three hours. He also mentioned that the DNA sequences from the virus are used to target specific parts of the pathogen which they believe that the body will mount the strongest response to.
Later the patient’s own cells are used to become a factory for the vaccine that strengthens the body’s own natural response mechanism. Inovio also mentioned that if the initial human trials are a success then larger trials will follow by the end of this year.
Coronavirus in India – In India, we had the first confirmed case in Kerala though there are hundreds of people who are hospitalised based on the symptoms and are waiting for their tests to be completed. On 2nd Feb, Kerala has reported second case of coronavirus, patient moved to isolation ward.
The Indian Government has Airlifted two batches of over 300 students each from Wuhan, China & have kept them in a quarantine facility for now. Though, six students were stopped from boarding because of high fever & they will have to undergo tests.
The Coronavirus gets its name from the crown-like circle of spikes that can be seen under a microscope. We have already encountered six different types of coronaviruses and few of which are mentioned below.
- SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
- MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)
- Human coronavirus 229E
- Human coronavirus HKU1
- Human coronavirus NL63
- Human coronavirus OC43 and
- Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Since the WHO (World Health Organisation) was alerted by China on 31st December 2019 about the pneumonia-like cases in Wuhan, the virus has been spreading fast. Since it is a new member of the coronavirus group, humans are said to lack immunity for it and are making a pandemic across the world.
Following this on the 1st of January 2020, the seafood/animal market was closed in Wuhan in the belief that it could be the center of the outbreak of the virus. On the 10th of January, China shared the genetic code of this virus and the next day the first case of death was registered while scientists started working on the vaccine on the same day. On the 13th of January, the first case of the virus was resisted in Thailand.
Symptoms of Coronaviruses – The Corono Virus can cause illness and the symptoms of it are mentioned below though there could be multiple symptoms, here’s a quick list.
- Upper-respiratory infection
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Like most of the other viruses, this virus is risky for elderly people and also for pre-existing illness.
In some cases, the virus can also be transmitted from the person who shows no symptoms of the virus. A few days back a newspaper published that a 10-year old boy who was infected with the virus had not shown any symptoms of it. The boy put through CT scan and his lungs showed the characteristic changes that were related to the Coronavirus. If confirmed, it shows that infected people can still pass through the screening programs and infect others.
Earlier, SARS was also transmitted by sick patients and most of the infections occurred in hospitals where these patients were admitted. Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is the only lab in China that is made to study these dangerous pathogens.
Coronavirus, Bats & Snakes Connection – There have been multiple reports claiming that because of the Chinese eating Bats & Snakes the virus came into effect. Well, these Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means that they are transmitted between animals and people. The SARS was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS from dromedary camels to humans. According to a few latest news, scientists have said that a type of snake may also be the original source of the Wuhan coronavirus but the main reason for this virus could be bats. Though, we should wait for the official reports to know more on the actual reason behind this virus.
Note: It is recommended to stay away from the fake news, videos and updates you get on Whatsapp or other networking apps.
Bats are closest relatives of this virus when we observe the genetic sequence and match it up with even known coronavirus. This was said by Dr. Peter Daszak who is the president of EcoHealth Alliance. Bats are the main sources to carry the deadly viruses and also the host of the Ebola virus along with rabies, SARS and MERS.
In 2017, scientists warned that the SARS-like virus could escape a lab that was set up in Wuhan last year where the study of the dangerous pathogens is done. According to an article, the SARS virus has escaped multiple times from a lab in Beijing.
As of now, the entire Wuhan city has been sealed off and transport restrictions are placed so that the virus does not spread. People are made to work from home until it is safe for them and many international airlines have also stopped flying to China.
It is very important to stay safe from this new Coronavirus and like always said prevention is better than cure we would like to give some important tips for the people around the globe to encounter this situation.
How to Stay Safe from Coronovirus? Few important precaution measures
- Wear gloves whenever you move out of your house especially in public places like subways, buses, trains or airports.
- Change the gloves daily and wash them thoroughly after every use. Do not use wet gloves.
- If in any situation you do not use gloves make sure you keep your hands far from face and eyes.
- Make a habit of using a mask whenever you go out and even in indoor conditions.
- The mask has to be discarded after one or two uses unless you are using N99 masks that are re-usable.
- Do not use other clothes or towels.
- Try using your shoulder or elbows to open a doorknob, or else you need to wash your hands after opening via a knob.
- If anyone is sick at home make sure they wear a mask and clean regularly whatever they touch.
- Do not eat live animals or make sure your meat is well cooked.
- Stay in a well-Ventilated room where you have proper sunlight and fresh air.
- Stay well hydrated and have lots of fluids.
- Before eating, wash your hands well with soap for at least 15-20 seconds.
- Avoid direct contact with live animals.
These are the normal prevention measures that we take when there is viral fever or flu is around and the same has to be followed even now. Try avoiding direct contact with people and cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing. Ask others to keep a distance from you when they are coughing or sneezing and plea them to cover their mouth. Wash and boil your food well before consuming them.
The situation in mainland China is becoming bad to worse as the days are passing by and airlines are being suspended to and from. It is also advised nonessential travelers not to visit China until the situation comes under control. Moreover, most of the travel insurance is unlikely to cover this situation.
Prior to this, even the SARS outbreak started in China which was also said to be originated from the animal market in November 2002. There were 8098 confirmed cases of the SARS virus in between November 2002 to July 2003 and caused 774 deaths with a death rate of 9.6 percent.
As of now more than 200 Americans have been evacuated from Wuhan and have landed them in California and the twelve Japanese evacuees were showing symptoms of the virus that have been hospitalised.
Many tech firms have been donating China and also help them find a cure for the same. As of now, Alibaba has contributed 1 Billion yuan for the purchase of medical materials and the other companies like Tencent Holdings and Meituan Dianping have donated (total US$432.5 million).