Coronavirus outbreak 2020

Deadly Novel Coronavirus Outbreak: 2020

Deadly Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV; Outbreak


Deadly Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV strikes in china. A new strain of Coronavirus outbreak that has killed 41 people and infected at least 1,300 Upto 24th Jan 2020. Other countries, including Australia, Japan, France confirmed that the virus had reached their shores. Health authorities around the world are taking action to prevent a global pandemic of Deadly Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV.

Novel Coronavirus outbreak 2020
Courtesy: DW.COM

Lets get to know about Coronavirus in detail…

What is corona Virus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, which are single-stranded enveloped RNA viruses with a helical nucleocapsid. This group of viruses named corona as, in electron microscope, prominent club shaped spikes can be seen in the form of a “corona” (halo). Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but it’s difficult to say that, where they come from.

Recent Corona Virus Outbreak

Recently a novel (new) coronavirus outbreak is going on in China. This novel coronavirus identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and currently named “2019-nCoV”. The first human cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in 30 Dec 2019. There have not been any other suspected human cases reported prior to this. According to China authority, it’s originated from a seafood market that “conducted illegal transactions of wild animals”.

Previous Corona Virus Outbreaks

SARS-Corona Virus (SARS-CoV) first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002. The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by the SARS coronavirus emerged as a major respiratory pathogen during an outbreak in 2002–2003, with 8000 cases and a fatality rate of approximately 9%.
MERS-CoV, another coronavirus transmission reported in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula since its discovery in 2012. It has rarely been epidemic outside the area except one large outbreak in South Korea in May 2015.

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What’s new in recent outbreak?

Current outbreak of corona virus is with a novel (new) virus known as “2019-nCoV” which is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus, not previously identified in humans. The genome sequence of the coronavirus that caused the SARS (CoV-SARS) outbreak is different from the “2019-nCoV” human strains. Research published by scientists from five Chinese universities presented a study of the genetic code of 2019-nCoV, finding that it was distinct from but closely related to SARS-like coronavirus samples from bats.

Spreads & Reservoirs

Coronaviruses are transmitted by the respiratory aerosol. Outbreaks occur primarily in the winter on a 2- to 3- year cycle. Human-to-human transmission occurs, and some patients with SARS are thought to be “super-spreaders,” but this remains to be confirmed. Early in the SARS outbreak, many hospital personnel were affected, but respiratory infection control procedures have greatly reduced the spread within hospitals. Interesting thing is, according to recent research publication by Chinese virologists, Snakes as the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV. Though 2019-nCoV originated as a zoonotic virus, or one that was transmitted from animals to humans, but there is now evidence to suggest human-to-human transmission has been confirmed by Chinese authority.

There are many animal corona viruses, and they are suspected of being the source of the CoV-SARS. The horseshoe bat appears to be the natural reservoir for CoV-SARS, with the civet cat serving as an intermediate host.

Approximately 50% of infections are asymptomatic, and it is unclear what role they play in the spread of infection.

Is Corona Virus infection Deadly?

As corona viruses can cause an atypical pneumonia called SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), corona viral infection can be deadly.


No individual symptom or cluster of symptoms has proved to be specific for a diagnosis of Corona Viral infections. Although fever is the most frequently reported symptom, it is sometimes absent on initial measurement, especially in elderly and immunosuppressed patients. This illness typically lasts several days and has no long-term sequelae. Severe cases often evolve rapidly, progressing to respiratory distress and requiring intensive care.

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Symptoms may includes

  • Fever
  • Coryza (Rhinorrhea, Runny Nose)
  • Nonproductive Cough
  • Dyspnea
  • Malaise
  • Myalgia
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Shivering (Rigors)


The diagnosis of the “Common Cold” is primarily a clinical one. If SARS is suspected, antibody-based and PCR based tests can be used.


There are no specific treatments for coronavirus infections. Most people will get better on their own. A combination of Ribavirin and Steroids has been tried in the treatment of life-threatening cases of SARS, but their efficacy is uncertain. The most important aspects of management are oxygenation, fluid balance and antibiotic therapy (Prophylactic for Bacterial Infections). In severe or prolonged illness, intensive care and nutritional support may be required.

However, patients can relieve symptoms by:


Till now there is no vaccine available for corona virus prevention. Experimental vaccines are under development.

Recent advances in Treatment

The genome of the epidemic MERS-CoV (Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus) isolated from a Korean patient revealed its homology to previously reported strains. ORF8b, an accessory protein of MERS-CoV, strongly inhibits both MDA5- and RIG-I-mediated activation of interferon beta promoter activity while downstream signaling molecules were left largely unaffected. Of note, MDA5 protein levels were significantly down-regulated by ORF8b and co-expression of ORF4a and ORF4b. These novel findings will facilitate elucidation of mechanisms of virus-encoded evasion strategies, thus helping design rationale antiviral countermeasures against deadly MERS-CoV infection.

If Antiviral countermeasures against MERS-CoV infection become available, hope it may leads to find way of treating infection by other strains of corona virus like CoV-SARS and 2019-nCoV.

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) advice for the public

WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses are as follows, which include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
  • When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

Written By
Dr Mohammad Shakiluzzaman
General Physician


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