Coronavirus – Prevention is better than cure
Coronavirus after originating in China is now spreading across the world. It is a Novel Corona Virus: an RNA virus (the genetic material is RNA). Coronavirus is a very small virus – approximately about 0.12 microns in size. So far we have seen seven generations of this virus.
This is the 7th generation virus named as CoV-19. Normal coronavirus is the one that causes common cold. The major difference between the common coronavirus and this novel coronavirus is that this novel coronavirus genetic material is 90% similar to the one that is present in bats. Therefore, the infection caused by coronavirus is a zoonotic infection (a type of infection that spreads from animals to human beings).
The reason why many people are losing their lives after being infected with this virus is that the immunity against this virus is not available in the body as this virus is new to our body. The mortality rate associated with the infection caused by this virus is very high for this reason.
The virus might have originated from the Wuhan City’s Animal Food Market – from the uncooked seafood or animal food (from the sources available to us). According to some sources and the news from China, this virus could have come from a Pangolin (anteater) (an animal that resembles like Mongoose) – eating uncooked meat of this animal could be the reason of transmission of this virus to human beings.
In the first instance, it came from animals to humans and now it is being spread from human beings to humans through droplet infection (sneezing and Coughing). Individuals infected with Coronavirus experience signs and symptoms similar to that of influenza virus infection or flu infection – fever, chills, cough and sneezing.
In severe cases breathlessness, low levels of oxygen, kidney failure or other organ failures (multiorgan failure) may result. Severe complications may eventually lead to death.
Precautions to prevent the virus from spreading to others
People with symptoms should keep themselves away from others.
Use handkerchief or tissue papers and Follow basic etiquettes while sneezing and coughing to prevent droplet infection.
After touching any potentially contaminated surface, do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with hands. (coronavirus remains alive on surfaces for several days)
After touching any surface like door handles, railings, you should immediately wash your hands with soap and water. During an epidemic, stay away from public places (celebrations, functions).
The best way to prevent infection by coronavirus is proper handwashing. Proper handwashing at least for around 20 to 30 seconds is a good practice to follow to prevent the virus from spreading.
Dr. Laxman Babu
Department of Pulmonology, Sunshine Hospitals