Everything You Need to Know About Coronaviruses

What are coronaviruses? 

Coronaviruses are a large group of zoonotic viruses that was first isolated in 1937. They can cause issues ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome. They attack the respiratory system and are transmitted from animals to humans, for example, middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS – CoV) has been found to be transferred from a dromedary camel to humans.

Coronaviruses infect not only humans but including animals (cats, dogs, pigs, birds, and even cows). It is identified that coronaviruses can cause plenty of diseases from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS or SARS).

Coronaviruses Symptoms

The symptoms of coronaviruses range from the follows:

Common cold with symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Throat swollen adenoids (pharyngeal tonsil)
  • Headaches
  • Running nose (catarrh)
  • Sneezing
  • Weakness and body pain

Pneumonia with symptoms of:

  • Chest pain
  • Productive cough
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in breathing

Acute Bronchitis

Coronavirus can cause illnesses such as bronchitis symptoms that may include: 

Diagnosis of coronaviruses:

Diagnosis is made by taking mucus swab from the nostrils or blood samples to detect the strain of coronavirus, causing the symptoms.

Preventions of coronaviruses:

There are no vaccines, but you can protect yourself by:

  • Regular hand washing
  • Covering your mouth and nose whenever sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid close contact with those manifesting respiratory symptoms such as sneezing or coughing
  • Properly cooking meat and eggs
  • You should always avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes with your hands, according to the CDC
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces because most household disinfectants kill coronavirus
  • Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching an animal.

Treatment of coronaviruses

There are no specific treatments or cure for coronaviruses, just symptomatic managements: 

  • Ibuprofen or paracetamol for pain and fever
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Use a humidifier to ease a sore throat
  • Take hot showers to relieve sore throat and cough
  • Get plenty of rest and stay home
  • Intake of C. Vitamin and fresh fruits and vegetables to boost immunity

Coronavirus outbreak timeline

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV): 

On April 16th, 2003, an outbreak of SARS occurred in Asia, and about 9% of patients confirmed with SARS died from the infection. There were other cases of SARS in other parts of the world, but they occurred as a secondary infection to those already sick with something else.

The manifestations of SARS caused by coronavirus are:

  • Muscle pain.
  • Headache.
  • Fever followed by cough, difficulty in breathing and pneumonia in about 2 to 14days of onset

Middle East respiratory syndrome: 

  • It was first identified in September 2012, and the WHO stated that it wasn’t transmitted from person to person.
  • On May 12th, 2013, a case of human to human transmission in France was established by the French ministry of social affairs and health.
  • By October 30th, 2013, there were 124 cars and 52 deaths in Saudi Arabia.
  • In May 2014, 2 cases of MERS-CoV was recorded in the United States. It affected two health workers who worked in Saudi Arabia and later traveled to the United States.
  • In May 2015, an outbreak occurred in the Republic of Korea.

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV):

  • In December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China. Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University, stated that the first human infection must have occurred in November 2019.

On January 29th, 2020, more than 130 deaths have been recorded, and more than 6000 confirmed cases of this pneumonia outbreak. 

On 4th February 2020, the number of cases in China is 20,438 and death toll is 425 in China.

How many strains of coronavirus are there?

There are 7 Strains of Human Coronaviruses :

  1. Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV – 229E)
  2. Human coronavirusn0C43 (HCoV-0C43)
  3. Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV)
  4. Middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS – CoV): previously known as HCoV-EMC and novel coronavirus 2012.
  5. Human coronavirus HKU1
  6. Human coronaviruses NL63 (HCoV-NL63, New haven coronavirus)
  7. Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV): also known as Wuhan pneumonia or Wuhan coronavirus is a newly discovered strain of coronavirus