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Explained: What is Coronavirus?

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New Delhi, Jan 20: China reported its third death caused by new coronoavirus and nearly 140 fresh cases as the disease spread to other parts of the country, including Beijing, raising concerns about more infections. The outbreak started in the central city of Wuhan.

The virus usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, such as the cold, cough but can also affect the lower-respiratory tract, causing pneumonia or bronchitis.

Explained: What is Coronavirus?

Before going in detail about coronavirus, first, we will see from how the case of coronavirus was detected?

A coronavirus was first detected in 1937 from an infectious bronchitis virus in birds that has the ability to seriously devastate poultry stocks. However, Human coronaviruses (HCoV) were first identified in the 1960s.

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This year, a Chinese national travelling in Thailand was the first confirmed case of coronavirus infection outside China.

It is also said that the disease is linked to a large seafood and animal market that is animal-to-person spread. Some patients even had no exposure to the animal market, therefore it is suggested that some limited person-to-person spread may be occurring.

So what is this mysterious new virus - Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae. A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose or upper throat.

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and with a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases.

The name 'coronavirus' is derived from the Latin corona, meaning crown or halo.

This morphology is created by the viral spike (S) peplomers, which are proteins that populate the surface of the virus and determine host tropism.

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Types of Coronavirus

Common types include:

  • 229E (alpha coronavirus)
  • NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
  • OC43 (beta coronavirus)
  • HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

Dangerous ones include:

MERS-CoV, which causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV), the coronavirus responsible for SARS.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

It is similar to any other upper-respiratory infection, that includes:

  • Runny nose,
  • sneezing,
  • coughing,
  • exacerbated asthma,
  • sore throat, and sometimes a fever.

In most cases, you won't know whether you have a coronavirus or a common cold.

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    Treatment: Coronavirus

    • There is no vaccine for coronavirus.
    • However, one can prevent coronavirus infection, by avoiding the common cold:
    • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Avoid close contact with infected people.
    • Get plenty of rest.
    • Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and fever.
    • Drink fluids.

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