About 2019-nCOV or Coronavirus Infection
Coronavirus infection in a human was initially discovered in 1960.1 The symptoms of Coronavirus infection were running nose, fever, and cough. The diagnosis was infectious bronchitis. The virus was identified as human coronavirus 229E and OC43. On December 31, 2019, the world health organization reported a new strain of coronavirus that was observed in Wuhan, China. The virus was identified by world health organization as 2019-nCoV.2
Can You Die of Coronavirus Infection
Most coronavirus infection is seen in birds, cows, and pigs. Most contaminated infections in farmers and meat handlers were mild and treated with conservative treatment. The recent lethal coronavirus infection caused by the 2019-nCoV turns out to be causing severe upper respiratory tract symptoms resulting in death.
A chain of protein molecules forms the minute virus. A protein molecule is known as nucleic acid, and chain form by the various nucleic acid is known as RNA (Ribonucleic acid).3 The chain of 1000 single protein molecules is known as kilobase. The RNA of 2019-nCoV coronavirus is formed by the nucleic acid of 26 to 32 kilobase.
Coronavirus Infection in Human-
The virus particle of the coronavirus (2019-nCoV00 is covered by a layer of glycoprotein known as a coating of the virus. As soon as the virus enters the human body, the coating separates (uncoating), and the free RNA chain starts rapidly multiplying using similar human nucleic acid molecules from surrounding tissue. Such rapid multiplication of the RNA chain results in the formation of several thousand virus particles identical to coronavirus RNA (2019-nCoV). Such quick multiplication results in host cell machinery that produces continuous RNA coronavirus.As of January 2020, seven different strains of coronavirus are identified.
In the past non-lethal human coronavirus infection was frequently caused by following six different strains of coronavirus-4
- SARS- CoV
- Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E)
- Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43)
- New Haven coronavirus (HCoV-NL63)
- Human coronavirus (HKU1)
- The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-C0V)
Recently on December 31, 2019, the seventh coronavirus was identified and named as Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).3
Incubation Period of Coronavirus-
The incubation period is counted as the number of hours or days. The period is calculated from the time an individual is exposed to an infected animal or human to the beginning of initial upper respiratory tract symptoms.
The incubation period of coronavirus 2019-nCoV is 3 to 14 days.5
In most cases severe symptoms of coronavirus are observed in 4 to 7 days.
The Spread Of Coronavirus Infection From The Source-
Earlier, most coronaviruses had spread from infected animals and birds into a human, causing upper respiratory tract infection. Most diseases observed in individuals who were in contact with an infected animal. Such infection often results in mild to moderate symptoms that were not fatal. The present infection caused by a coronavirus (2019-nCoV) results in severe symptoms and may spread rapidly from human to human. Occasionally such infection may quickly spread in the surrounding local population. Such spread of viral infection may remain within the local community that is known as endemic infection. Occasionally viral infection is carried by an infected individual to an adjacent or distant Geographical area. Such spread is known as epidemics. The present coronavirus disease caused by coronavirus 2019-nCoV is restricted to Wuhan, China (endemic). But, a recent news report suggests some cases were observed in Europe and the USA (epidemic) who had recently visited Wuhan, China.
Prevention of Spread Of Coronavirus Infection-
In most cases, the coronavirus infection is self-limiting, depending on the resistance of the population to viral infection and fading multiplication of viruses in infected humans. The spread of 2019-nCoV type of viral infection is prevented by isolating the symptomatic individual. Isolation is not necessary for individuals suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of coronavirus that lasts 3 to 7 days and does not cause death or severe complication. The spread of infection caused by coronavirus 2019-nCoV is necessary since the disease can be fatal. The isolation of infected individuals is essential to prevent endemic and epidemic spread of coronavirus.
Prevention Of Getting Infected From Coronavirus-
The coronavirus 2019-nCoV infection is avoided by not visiting an endemic area like Wuhan, China. One should not be afraid to visit non-infected other countries and cities in China. If you are visiting or living in an epidemic or endemic towns or villages like in this case Wuhan, China, then you must wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth with a mask and avoid any contact with individuals suffering from upper respiratory tract infection. Individuals must report to the nearest hospital if suffering from cough, running nose, and fever while living in Wuhan or recently visited endemic areas like Wuhan, China. For now, avoid contact with any bird or animal if you are living in an endemic area like Wuhan, China.
There is no vaccine available as yet that can help to prevent infection or reduce the fatal symptoms.
Symptoms of 2019-nCOV or Coronavirus Infection –
The average normal body temperature is around 98.60 F (370 C). Coronavirus infection caused by 2019-nCoV virus causes a low-grade fever that fluctuates between 990 F, and 1030 F. Fever may be associated with chills and sweating.
The spread of 2019-nCoV coronaviruses in the upper respiratory tract causes swelling of the mucosal membrane in the nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi. The mucosal swelling causes increased secretion of mucosal fluid. Increased mucosal flow in trachea and bronchi causes cough and discharge of mucosal secretions.
The swelling of mucosa in the larynx and lower bronchi causes the narrowing of breathing passage. The condition is known as breathlessness or dyspnea.The severe mucosal swelling of larynx causes life-threatening acute obstruction of breathing space. Similarly, mucosal swelling of lower breathing space like trachea and bronchi causes narrowing of lower breathing canal. Such a condition causes breathlessness, known as dyspnea. Continuous severe breathlessness caused by narrowing of breathing passage results in cyanosis. Cyanosis results when blood hemoglobin carries less oxygen. Prolonged cyanosis occurs in heart failure because of the lack of oxygenated blood.
Dehydration is the condition that follows when the percentage of body water decreases. Dehydration is caused by either less fluid intake or more fluid loss. Fever causes increased body temperature that results in increased fluid loss through evaporation. Water is also lost through significant sweating. In 2019-nCoV coronavirus infection and illness, individuals often suffer from decreased appetite and decreased feeling of thirst. Such physiological condition reduces water intake.
Headache is caused by fever. Increased body temperature dilates blood vessels and such conditions within the brain cause headache. Headache associated with fever is not caused by any abnormalities of the brain. Headache responds to Tylenol.
Loss of Appetite
Individuals may suffer from loss of appetite during the 2019-nCoV coronavirus infection. Fever is also associated with loss of appetite. The condition decreases the desire to eat and drink. The decrease in the consumption of water causes dehydration.
A viral infection caused by Coronavirus 2019-nCoV also spreads within muscles that result in muscle pain and generalized weakness. The pain responds to analgesics.
The spread of viral infection within the muscles causes muscle fatigue and generalized weakness.
Investigations to Diagnose 2019-nCOV or Coronavirus-
Specific Blood Examination-
The blood test is performed to diagnose the presence of coronavirus 2019-nCoV in the blood. The only lab capable of performing such blood tests in the USA is at the emergency operation center of CDC. The center is contacted by phone number 001 770 488 7100. The center will provide kit and instruction to a lab or a physician regarding how to collect blood and where to send the sample of blood
Non-Specific Blood Examination-
The various blood tests are performed to rule out any abnormal effects of infection on heart, kidney, liver and blood. Following test are performed-
- Blood hemoglobin,
- Red blood cell count,
- White blood cell count,
- Blood electrolytes levels tests,
- Blood examination to evaluate liver function and
- Blood test to evaluate kidney function.
Individuals suffering from symptoms like running nose cough and shortness of breath are often advised to consider X-Ray chest examination if suffering from coronavirus 2019-nCoV infection. X-Ray chest helps to evaluate the severity of mucosal swelling of breathing passage and also diagnosed pneumonia.
Treatment of 2019-nCOV or Coronavirus Infection-
Treatment of coronavirus is divided into two groups specific and non-specific anti-viral medication.
Specific Therapy for Treating Coronavirus-
Specific anti-viral treatment targets virus and makes it inactive, resulting in a stoppage of multiplication and rapid destruction of a virus protein molecule by white blood cells. There is no specific medication as yet available to attack the coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
Non-Specific Treatment for Coronavirus
- Antiviral medications
- Cough medications
- Nasal decongestant
- Anti-fever medication
- Intravenous fluid
- Vitamin supplements
- Nasal oxygen
History and recent advances in coronavirus discovery.
Kahn JS1, McIntosh K., Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 Nov;24(11 Suppl):S223-7, discussion S226.
Homologous recombination within the spike glycoprotein of the newly identified coronavirus may boost cross-species transmission from snake to human.
Ji W1, Wang W2, Zhao X3, Zai J4, Li X5., J Med Virol. 2020 Jan 22.
Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition.
Section 6.3Viruses: Structure, Function, and Uses. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21523/
Human Coronavirus Type.
Center for disease control and prevention.
Coronavirus 2019: 2019-nCoV.
Center for disease control and prevention.