A new deadly virus namely, COVID-19, is sweeping all over the world, in just less than 3 months the virus has swept over 60 countries infecting more than a hundred thousand people and killing more than 3, 500 people.
WHAT IS CORONAVIRUS
According to WHO, Coronavirus are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
NOTE: This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019.
This novel virus has been named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes has been named COVID-19. It has an incubation period of 1-14 days, and most commonly 5 days.
HOW IT IS TRANSMITTED
Studies suggest that the virus causing COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets. But there are a variety of ways the virus can be transmitted:
- People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.
- Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their nose, eyes or mouth.
- People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and dry coughs. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Older people with health problems like blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. Other symptoms are severe pneumonia, sepsis and septic.
HOW TO STAY SAFE/SAFETY TIPS
There are a variety of ways a person can stay safe and help prevent the spread on this pandemic. First thing to do is to avoid unnecessary panic caused by media, while it is very true that this virus is new and has no cure, nevertheless is it “destructive” if you have a strong immunity system, since it’s symptoms are mild compared to other pandemics, however, this does not mean you should underestimate it. Stay updated with the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak available at the WHO website, health agencies, national and local health authorities.
- It is highly recommended to stay more than one metre from a person who is sick.
- Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with your hands since your hands may have touched contaminated objects and surfaces.
- Follow good respiratory hygiene, cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose off the used tissue immediately.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you feel unwell.
- Avoid travelling to places especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung diseases.
ARE THERE ANY HOPES OF FINDING A CURE
While scientist are racing to find a cure for the deadly pandemic, there is not yet a vaccine or any specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Moderna, a biotech company in US, is on it’s way testing a new technology to treat the pandemic. It’s first batch of the coronavirus vaccine has been shipped to NIH officials, who are to lead the first clinical trial by mid-April. Later tests will require thousands of people, and look to see if the vaccine can stop the virus.
Gilead Sciences, another biotech company is repurposing a drug called, remdesivir, that was previously tested against ebola. Meanwhile WHO has called the antiviral “the most promising candidate” for a treatment against COVID-19. The drug has shown activity in animals against similar viruses. There are five planned clinical trials in China and the US for remdesivir with three actively enrolling patients.
Whilst huge biotech companies are working hard to get the cure for the pandemic, there’s still no assurance that the vaccines will work, it will take months to years to determine if the vaccines are viable. However, with faith there is hope the cure will be found.