Coronavirus Infection has been known to clinicians since the sixth decade of the 20th century. It has been termed as a common infection causing cough, cold, and flu like symptoms. In severe cases, coronavirus causes respiratory symptoms. SARS and MERS were the most serious of the complications that were identified to be caused by the coronavirus. This however changed after the discovery of a new strain of the virus in late December 2019 in Wuhan province of China. This strain of the coronavirus affected the respiratory system so severely that the condition eventually became fatal within a matter of a few days.
This new strain of the coronavirus was named as Covid-19 (2019-nCoV). This strain of the coronavirus is believed to have been spread through cattle like pigs and cows.
The Covid-19 (2019-nCoV) is most threatening as it spreads via droplets and an infected individual may not even be aware of the infection until the symptom onset. Moreover, the time between exposure to the coronavirus and symptom onset and complications is very less stressing that the Covid-19 (2019-nCoV) infection is extremely aggressive in nature.
The most common cause of fatality in individuals infected with the 2019-nCoV coronavirus is due to respiratory failure. The treatment for all the five strains of the coronavirus was basically symptomatic as the virus ran its course and the symptoms would fade away in a few days. Only in a few people did complications like SARS and MERS arose which required aggressive management.
Is Coronavirus Curable?
As of March 17, 2020, neither is there a vaccine to protect an individual from coronavirus or Covid-19 (2019-nCoV) nor is there any treatment available to treat the infection. However, researchers all over the globe are tirelessly working on finding a cure or vaccine for Covid-19 (2019-nCoV). One positive finding of the coronavirus is that the fatality rate from this infection is far lower than that observed during the SARS and MERS outbreak; however, it is still quite deadly since how severe can the infection become and within how much time is something which still remains a mystery for most clinicians and experts. This is stated by a Professor of Mathematical Biology at Imperial College, London, named Neil Ferguson. This is the cause of concern all over the world.
Mr. Ferguson also opines that due to several cases of the milder form of the Covid-19 (2019-nCoV) which are yet to be diagnosed or verified, the actual fatality rate may in fact be quite low even though the rate of spread of coronavirus infection is extremely rapid. The scientists however believe that they are quite close to finding a cure for this new virus and very soon clinical trials may begin.
With regard to prevention, again as stated there is no vaccine as of now to prevent an individual from contracting the viral infection. Clinicians are actually conducting trials for a vaccine for MERS which is also one of the complications of the coronavirus. The vaccine for the novel 2019-nCoV may take a few months to be ready for clinical trials.
However, the best way to decrease the risk of contracting Covid-19 (2019-nCoV) infection is by avoiding places where there have been maximum number of cases of this infection, especially China, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Iran, Germany, France, USA, Switzerland, UK, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Japan etc.
Additionally, it is better to avoid any sick contacts. Use hand sanitizer and facemasks if working at a medical institution and washing the hands with soap and water thoroughly. It is also advisable to avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands as these are the entry routes for the virus and can cause the individual to get the viral infection.
The best way to avoid getting the Covid-19 (2019-nCoV) coronavirus is to have in-depth knowledge of the disease especially if an individual resides in the infected area or if anyone is planning to visit any of the country having more cases of coronavirus. It is best to consult with the healthcare provider to know about the symptoms and signs and go for tests immediately and if found positive start treatment as early as possible as delay in treatment significantly affects the overall prognosis of the person. It is also advisable for people living or visiting China to avoid animal markets as this is the place where the coronavirus outbreak is believed to have begun.
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