According to Xinhua News Agency, the unknown pathogen of pneumonia in Wuhan has been initially identified as a new type of coronavirus, and the next step requires expert research and judgment in combination with etiology research, epidemiological investigation and clinical manifestations.
What is coronavirus? What does it have to do with SARS? Is the disease serious? Breathing time has compiled 6 questions about coronavirus for you to help you have a more comprehensive understanding of the pathogen and the incident.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronavirus (CoVs) is a single-stranded positive-strand RNA virus classified in the order Reticulovirus, Coronaviridae, and Coronavirus. As early as 1965, Tyrrell and Bynoe collected specimens from the respiratory tract of a cold child. Embryonic bronchial tissue culture found that the coronavirus-like spinous process was found on the envelope of the virus and was named coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large class of viruses that can infect mammals and birds and cause many diseases.
Is the corona virus harmful?
The harms of different types of coronavirus to human body are very different. Prior to the incident, there were six known human coronaviruses. Four of these coronaviruses are more common in the population and are less pathogenic, generally causing only minor respiratory symptoms similar to the common cold. The other two coronaviruses, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, also known as SARS Coronavirus and MERS Coronavirus, can cause serious respiratory diseases.
The new coronavirus that caused the outbreak is different from the human coronaviruses that have been discovered, and further understanding of the virus requires further scientific research. So far, no corresponding patients have died, and 8 mild patients have been discharged.
How infectious is the coronavirus?
The most common modes of transmission of common human coronaviruses are:
Airborne from person to person, such as coughing, sneezing, etc.
Communication between people, such as handshake, etc.
Touch your mouth, nose or eyes after touching a virus-bearing object
Fecal pollution (rare)
Up to now, no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found in this pneumonia epidemic in Wuhan, and specific sources of infection and transmission methods are still under investigation. On January 8, eight patients with mild new-type coronavirus pneumonia were discharged.
Why did it take so long to confirm the pathogen in this outbreak?
According to Koch’s Law, the identification of the cause of an epidemic usually requires the following:
(1) Suspicious pathogens must be found in patients, and pathogenic nucleic acids can be detected in clinical samples of patients;
(2) The pathogen can be successfully isolated from the patient’s clinical sample;
(3) Infected host animals with isolated pathogens can cause the same disease symptoms. The patient’s recovery period has a 4-fold increase in the antibody titer of the pathogen, which can help identify the pathogen.
Tissue laboratories use genomic sequencing, nucleic acid detection, virus isolation, and other methods to etiologically detect samples from patients with alveolar lavage fluid, throat swabs, and blood. Finding the nucleic acid, genome and antibody evidence of the pathogen from the patient can be done in a short time. Scientific research, such as pathogen isolation and pathogenicity identification, can take weeks.
It is important to understand that the degree of pathogen damage is not directly related to the time it takes to isolate and test the pathogen. It takes a lot of time for a pathogen to be identified. It may not be because it is too powerful, but “too little sense of existence.” Humans don’t understand it yet.
How is coronavirus infection treated?
Upper respiratory tract coronavirus infections are mostly self-limiting diseases, and they will recover on their own after a period of time. Some measures (such as taking antipyretics, taking hot baths, etc.) can be taken to relieve symptoms.
Coronavirus-induced viral pneumonia currently lacks specific antiviral drugs. Combining epidemiological and clinical features with early diagnosis and reasonable support for symptomatic treatment is the key to reducing mortality. In addition, attention should be paid to reducing unnecessary antibiotic use.
For Middle Eastern coronavirus, the “Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Community Acquired Pneumonia in Adults in China” recommends ribavirin and interferon therapy.
For SARS, symptomatic supportive care is the mainstay. There are currently no proven effective antivirals. Ribavirin has no in vitro activity against SARS virus and there is no evidence to improve outcomes. Hormone use may have been more common back then, but to date there is no evidence-based medical evidence. The risk of adverse reactions after large doses of hormones should be paid attention to, such as secondary pulmonary Aspergillus infection, Staphylococcus aureus infection, osteoporosis, and femoral neck necrosis. The role of immunoglobulins is uncertain.
How to prevent coronavirus infection?
Common coronavirus infections can occur all year round. For this viral pneumonia, Wuhan has adopted measures to prevent and control the South China Seafood Market, isolate patients for treatment, close contact tracing, and medical observation, effectively reducing the risk of public infection.
There are several measures we can take to protect ourselves against the ways that coronaviruses infect people, as well as universal methods for preventing upper respiratory tract infections and pneumonia:
(1) Wash your hands
Washing hands and carefully disposing of items contaminated with nasal secretions are clear precautions against viral infections such as rhinoviruses and coronaviruses.
Washing hands with soap and running water is recommended. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also available.
(2) Wear a mask when necessary
If you are going to crowded places, wearing a mask properly can reduce the risk of infection.