A new kind of virus named coronavirus was discovered in a group of patients in December 2019 in Wuhan, China.
While detection it seems like unfamiliar pneumonia. On 7th January World Health Organization (WHO) initially named it as a 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
1. The genome of the new virus was sequenced by researchers and figured out 86.9% of the genome is the same as the SARS-CoV genome.
2. Afterwards the name of the virus was changed to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)
3. According to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) it is recently classified that 28 unique species into 4 genera: alpha-CoVs, beta-CoVs, gamma-CoVs and delta-CoVs are found. Mammals can be infected by alpha and beta whereas, gamma-CoVs and delta-CoVs can afflict birds and also humans.
4. The new coronavirus recently spread worldwide is considered a beta-CoVs genus. Before the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002.
5. Coronaviruses weren’t regarded as highly pathogenic for humans. So coronaviruses were identified as pleomorphic, enveloped viruses containing crown-shaped peplomers with 80-160 nM in size and 27-32 kb positive polarity.
6. As a result of many types of research carried out, the structure of the coronavirus genome is properly known. There are four structural proteins:
Spike (S):- S protein is on the surface of the virus and shapes the virus as a crown. S protein’s function is making the interaction between the sensitized cell and the virus then the genome can enter the cell.
Envelope (E) & Membrane (M):- The E and M types proteins function as small transmembrane proteins.
The nucleocapsid (N):- Nucleocapsid (N) is used for the cloning and generation of recombinant proteins.
In original cases, the source of the infection was related to seafood wholesale markets. However there is a similarity between the SARS-CoV-2 and Bat-CoV RaTG13 (a gene detected from a bat), researchers supposed that bat is an initial host.
It appears that the infection was first transmitted from animals to humans called zoonotic agents. Despite the seafood market is being closed, rates of infected patients increased, which indicated human-to-human transmission.
It is transmitted through Respiratory droplets human respiratory activities such as talking, coughing and sneezing and direct contact are the most probable transmission routes, but some cases show other ways of transmission like; faecal-oral transmission, fomite transmission (transfer of a virus via an object), perinatal (intrauterine) transmission.
There have been a few kinds of research, some of which were negative. All routes are under investigation and there was no reliable study has been conducted on the survival of the coronaviruses in food to indicate foodborne transmission. Some microbicides are effective against coronavirus; for example Alcohol, Aldehydes, Phenolics.
It is essential to be aware of the clinical manifestations of COVID-19, even though the symptoms are nonspecific. Common symptoms are fever, nonproductive cough and myalgia or fatigue, normal or decreased leukocyte counts and radiographic evidence of pneumonia. At first, people may complain of diarrhoea and nausea. A few days later, they develop a fever. Fever is usually detected in patients but it is not the main symptom. Headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting are some of the less common symptoms. ICU care is required for aged patients or patients likely to have comorbidities including hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cerebrovascular disorders. Subsequent problems during hospitalization are mostly acute respiratory syndrome (ARDS), arrhythmia, and shock. According to scientific observations, as the status of the patient gets worse, urea and creatinine blood levels gradually raised. Another common symptom in patients is lymphopenia that possibly is a serious issue during hospitalization so there may be a correlation between lymphopenia and severity or mortality of the disease.
The COVID-19 is diagnosed based on asking questions about contacts and travel of the patient during the past two weeks and accurate tests like molecular methods, serology and viral culture. RT-PCR (Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a molecular method that is commonly used for diagnosis. Lower respiratory tract samples are better than upper ones because they have a higher viral load. The other methods have some defects: Antibody detection has less sensitivity and viral culture take more time. National health and health commission of china recommend Computed Tomography Scan (CT scan) as the main way for diagnosis because RT-PCR may have some errors in samples. Radiological tests are important for the early detection of the disease. Chest CTs imaged of COVID-19 patients are broad-spectrum, but the regular chest CT results are a bilateral distribution of patchy shadows and ground-glass opacity (GGO).
Establishing a helpful antiviral agent against COVID-19 is urgently needed. After conducting numerous tests to determine the effectiveness of Chloroquine sulfate (CQ) and Hydroxychloroquine sulfate (HCQ), they are currently used as first time t-line treatment drugs in most countries. Chloroquine is an old drug used against malaria which is inexpensive and safe for elder patients. A combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin may have a positive effect, especially in severe cases. Despite the effectiveness of these two drugs in the recovery process, there may be some side effects including gastrointestinal responses, risk of cardiac arrhythmias and risk of retinal damage; especially with long term use.
The worldwide spread of COVID-19 has become a critical health issue.
Wear Mask, Stay Safe!