Fact about Covid 19

How does this new COVID-19 virus differ from other corona virus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold it has 39 different species of coronaviruses. Three coronaviruses cause severe and possibly deadly infections: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and now, SARS-CoV2 which is known as COVID-19. 


"The name 'coronavirus' has to do with what the virus looks like under a microscope," says Dr. Cowl. "'Corona' means crown. All coronaviruses have a similar structure. They are also ‘enveloped’ viruses, which mean they are able to stick to surfaces but are also able to be killed with disinfectants. The novel virus that causes COVID-19 is a one-nine hundredth of a width of a piece of hair."

SARS-CoV2 is a cousin of the coronavirus that caused SARS, having about 79% similarity in its genetic makeup. Though similar, these two viruses are not the same, and their disease demonstrations are different. SARS was recognized at the end of February 2003 in China. Worldwide, more than 8000 people became sick with SARS and 774 died, with the disease having a mortality rate of 10%.

Why the virus that causes COVID-19 is is novel?

The virus is called 'novel' because it started with an animal population, was transmitted to a human and now can go from human to human. Humans' immune systems have never seen this particular type of virus before, so we haven't developed an immunity. We don't have a vaccine for it at this point. And similar to many of the other novel viruses, it has potential for worldwide distribution. We've seen this with the Middle East virus (MERS), with SARS and other viruses that we've heard about over time.

How do these viruses jump to humans?

The majority of new diseases affecting humans are zoonotic, meaning that they originate in wild animals (mostly mammals) and then cross over to people. Among mammals, bats have a higher number of zoonotic viruses. These viruses might cause mild to no symptoms in bats. People and animals interacting with bats (or their urine, feces or saliva) might catch these zoonotic viruses and then spread them to other animals or people.

The trapping of wild animals for pets, food or medicinal purposes puts wild animals like bats in close contact with other animals and people. That is what happened in the previous two coronavirus outbreaks. In the 2003 outbreak, the SARS coronavirus jumped from bats to civets being sold as food in a market, and then from civets to people. In the MERS outbreak, the MERS coronavirus jumped from bats to camels and from camels to people. As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, China placed a permanent ban on wild animal markets.


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