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What is Coronavirus? How to Treat Coronavirus? COVID-19 Treatment Information

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is not a single disease. It is actually a whole family that includes more than 30 types of viruses. These types of coronavirus are combined into 2 families. Coronaviruses can infect humans and animals - cats, dogs, birds, pigs, and cattle.

The coronavirus was originally discovered in 1960 and received its name for its appearance: it is covered with pointed structures, going in different directions and resembling a crown, or corona. It is proven that coronaviruses can cause a number of diseases - from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) or pneumonia.

Types of Coronavirus

During the last century, coronaviruses caused mainly mild respiratory infections. Coronaviruses were not considered to be particularly dangerous because all these diseases were easily treated.

This changed later in 2003 when coronavirus caused the first outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). This type was named SARS-CoV and it caused an outbreak in 26 countries and killed as many as 623 people.

World Health OrganizationWorld Health Organization:

SARS-CoV was originally an animal virus, most likely present in bats, that spread to other animals and later infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002. An epidemic of SARS included 26 countries, resulting in more than 8000 cases and 623 deaths in 2003.
The next outbreak of severe infection occurred in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. A new type of coronavirus was diagnosed, causing an epidemic of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). During this outbreak, 416 people died - 35% of all cases of the disease. The transmission of MERS-CoV happened by contact between infected camels or infected people.

Novel Coronavirus: COVID-19

A new type of coronavirus, 2019-ncoV or COVID-19, was first detected in December 2019 (probably November 2019) in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China. The virus caused severe pneumonia of unknown origin. Chinese scientists managed to find the source of infection. Most likely, this was the seafood market in Wuhan.

In order to find the original virus that later mutated and was transmitted from animal to human, Chinese scientists studied the structure of COVID-19 and compared it with all known coronaviruses. A similar type of virus was found in bats with only a slight difference in the genome of the two viruses. Another possible link of the transmission of COVID-19 from animal to human could be poisonous snakes, which can be found in Chinese markets.

Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAccording to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

A new type of virus is extremely dangerous because it causes the rapid development of pneumonia. Once in the human body, the virus easily adapted for transmission between people.
Scientists have found that the COVID-19 is genetically more than 70% similar to the SARS-CoV virus. However, its clinical symptoms are milder, and the overall mortality rate from this type of virus may be lower than from SARS-CoV.

World Health OrganizationWorld Health Organization:

However, according to WHO, the mortality rate from a novel coronavirus is three times higher than from a seasonal flu. Worldwide, about 3.4% of reported cases of COVID-19 are fatal, while influenza usually kills less than 1% of those infected.

Symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Humans

The manifestations of the respiratory syndrome upon infection of the 2019-ncoV coronavirus can range from a complete absence of symptoms (asymptomatic disease) to severe pneumonia with respiratory failure, which can lead to death. The patients are usually concerned about fever, cough, shortness of breath. However, this does not always result in pneumonia. In some cases, gastrointestinal symptoms may occur, including diarrhea.

Severe symptoms of the COVID-19 may include respiratory failure, which will require the patient to be supported by an artificial ventilation device and assisted in the intensive care unit. In case of the severe course of the coronavirus, a secondary fungal and bacterial infections are possible.

Apparently, the virus is especially dangerous for people with a weakened immune system and for elderly people, as well as patients with chronic diseases like diabetes, chronic lung diseases, etc.

National Health ServiceNational Health Service: The symptoms of coronavirus 2019 infection are not highly specific, i.e. they do not differ from the symptoms of other respiratory viral infections. The epidemiological history data plays a more important role in identifying the disease. This includes information about the location, circumstances, conditions where the infection occurred. With an increase in body temperature, sneezing, coughing and/or shortness of breath, you should immediately seek medical help in case you have visited a region where COVID-19 was found or have been in contact with a patient who has arrived from there.
To sum up, the most common symptoms of COVID-2019 are:
  • fever (more than 90% of cases);
  • cough (either dry or with a small amount of sputum - in 80% of cases);
  • shortness of breath (55%);
  • muscle pain and fatigue (44%);
  • a feeling of heaviness in the chest (at least 20%).

How to Diagnose COVID-19?

When examining a patient with mild symptoms of coronavirus, a medical expert should consider whether a person has visited countries with COVID-19 outbreaks in the past 14 days, or if he has contacted other patients with confirmed cases.

American Lung AssociationAccording to the recommendations of the American Lung Association, methods for diagnosing coronavirus include:
  1. Physical examination. Thermometry, auscultation, and percussion of the lungs, palpation of the lymph nodes, visual examination of the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx.
  2. Laboratory diagnostics. It includes a general blood test, a biochemical blood test, a study of the level of C-reactive protein in serum, pulse oximetry to detect a respiratory failure.
  3. Chest X-ray;
  4. Tomography of the lungs;
  5. Electrocardiography (ECG).
Regardless of the severity of the patient's condition, hospitalization is necessary. The most effective solution to prevent the spread of coronavirus is the isolation of all patients.

Coronavirus Complications

In most cases, patients recover quickly without complication. However, in at least 10% of all cases, dangerous complications may appear that include a rapidly progressive acute respiratory distress syndrome (respiratory failure), which is the immediate cause of death.

How to Treat Coronavirus?

Currently, there are no medications for the specific treatment of coronavirus COVID-19. A traditional treatment regimen is prescribed for atypical SARS-associated pneumonia with coronavirus (mainly symptomatic and supportive therapy).

COVID-19 Vaccine

As of March 2020, there is currently no vaccine for a new type of coronavirus. Chinese scientists managed to isolate the virus and currently working on vaccine development. Virologists need additional research on humans to ensure the effectiveness and the safety of coronavirus vaccine.

Kaiser Permanente Washington Research InstituteUntil now, the quickest creation of a vaccine against respiratory coronaviruses was 20 months. This happened in 2003 when scientists developed the vaccine that protects against the SARS virus. Scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute believe that "widespread use of the vaccine should not be expected sooner than in 2021."
At the end of February 2020, Chinese experts claimed they had already developed a vaccine that had previously shown efficacy against coronavirus, but "there is still time for further experiments and refinement."

Ewan Kwok-Jung, a spokeswoman for the University of Hong Kong Medical University, fears the vaccine could lead to serious complications in humans. According to the scientist, complications associated with the central and respiratory nervous system were noted with the introduction of the SARS vaccine. Also, the vaccine may not be universal and not suitable for certain categories of people.

Pneumonia Treatment

Coronavirus-induced pneumonia is treated according to the WHO protocol in intensive care units or wards. A traditional treatment regimen is prescribed for atypical SARS-associated pneumonia with coronavirus (mainly symptomatic and supportive therapy).

Chinese doctors also claim they have success in treating a new type of pneumonia by transfusion of blood plasma from donors that have successfully recovered from COVID-19.

Natural Coronavirus Treatment

Alternative or natural methods of coronavirus treatment, such as herbal teas, extracts, etc. are ineffective for treating coronavirus infection.

National Institutes of HealthNational Institutes of Health:

According to media reports, people started looking for natural medicines to treat and prevent the 2019 coronavirus disease. Some of these natural remedies include herbal therapies and teas. There is no scientific evidence that any of these alternative remedies can prevent or treat the disease caused by this coronavirus.
It's always a good idea to boost your immune system with natural medications and herbal remedies. For example, our immune system relies heavily on vitamins, minerals, omega-3 oils, and amino acids to function well. You should take care of your health by having enough rest and sleep, drinking plenty of water, sticking to a nutritious diet, and doing exercises or other physical activity.

However, you should immediately consult a doctor if you notice symptoms of the disease (fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, etc.).

How to Prevent COVID-19 Coronavirus?

Although there is no treatment or medication that can prevent infection with a new type of coronavirus, the risk of COVID-19 can be reduced. WHO recommends that standard precautions be taken to prevent the transmission of coronaviruses:
  • Wash hands frequently with soap or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after returning home from public places.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands in public places or transport.
  • Avoid close contact with other people, try to stay at least 1 meter away from them.
  • Avoid sharing personal things like glasses, pens, and other items if you are sick.
  • Carry out regular wet cleaning and disinfection of the room, including all frequently touched surfaces.
  • Use only thermally processed foods of animal origin.
  • Avoid contact with animals.
  • If you have any symptoms of a cold, skip your work, school, or any other public places.

Moreover, one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of any disease is to avoid panic. Things that destroy our immune system are emotional or physical stress and they should be effectively prevented.

Reference
  1. World Health Organization: SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Symptoms of COVID-19
  3. National Health Service: Overview of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  4. National Institutes of Health: Coronavirus and "Alternative" Treatments
  5. Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute: First coronavirus vaccine trial