Coronaviruses are a family of so-called enveloped viruses. The viruses are coated in an oily coat, known as a lipid bilayer, studded with proteins that stick out like spikes of a crown.
The virus is so named because of its crown-like appearance. Corona is an ancient Greek word for crown.
What is the origin of Covid-19?
If one goes with the Chinese version about the origin of Covid-19; many among Chinese media believe that the coronavirus is an American bio-weapon, produced by the CIA or the US Army and released in Wuhan in October, when the city hosted the Military World Games.
“It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” shared the spokesman for China’s foreign ministry Zhao Lijian on March 12 in defense of conspiracy theories circulating online.
President Donald Trump says that China’s conspiracy theory is one reason why he keeps calling SARS-CoV-2 the “Chinese virus”.
Some Americans have floated an idea about the origin of Covid-19 that it emerged from a research lab in Wuhan. This, however, looks like another conspiracy regarding the possible origin of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, scientists have been trying to understand the origin of COVID-19 and the virus that causes SARS-CoV-2.
They believed that the virus may have developed in bats, and later pangolins as the second host.
However, genomic comparisons suggest that the SARS-Cov-2 virus is the result of a recombination between two different viruses.
It indicates that the exact origin of the virus is still unclear. Scientists view that there are still many grey areas as to the origin of viruses that causes SARS-Cov-2.
Comparative genomic analyses have shown that SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the group of Betacoronaviruses and that it is very close to SARS-CoV, responsible for the 2002 epidemic of acute pneumonia in the Chinese province of Guangdong.
Bats, in particular, Rhinolophus species constitute the reservoir of the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
About the size of Covid-19
A SARS-CoV-2 virus is technically known as virion, and is about 90 nanometres across—around a millionth the volume of the sort of cells it infects in the human lung.
What is the composition of SARS-Cov-2?
The SARS-Cov-2 virus contains four different proteins and a strand of RNA—a molecule which, like DNA, can store genetic information as a sequence of chemical letters called nucleotides.
How Covid-19 spreads?
There are two major ways that the virus is thought to spread. Firstly, it spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and secondly from contact with contaminated surfaces.
How long does SARS-Cov-2 survive?
The virus can survive for hours to days at a time on contaminated surfaces such as plastics.
In this case, a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface that has virus on it, and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
In colder conditions, the oily coat hardens into a rubber-like state, much like fat from cooked meat will harden as it cools, to protect the virus for longer when it is outside the body.
Research has already shown that Sars-Cov-2 can survive for up to 3 days on hardened surfaces like plastic and stainless steel at temperatures between 21-23 Degree Celcius, and in relative humidity of 40%.
How the Covid-19 virus behaves at other temperatures and humidity has yet to be tested.
The other coronaviruses, however, can survive for more than 28 days at about 4 Degree Celcius.
Is Covid-19 temperature-sensitive?
The coronavirus that caused 2003, SARS outbreak survived best in colder, and dried temperatures.
The recent Sars-Cov-2 has quickly spread all over the world. The major outbreaks have mainly occurred in places with cool and dry weather.
A recent analysis of the spread of the virus in Asia by researchers at Harvard Medical School predicts that the pandemic will less likely to be weather-sensitive as many of us are hoping.
A study from the University of Maryland has shown that the virus has spread most in cities and regions of the world where average temperatures have been around 5-11C, and relative humidity has been low.
But there has also been considerable number of cases in tropical regions.
The study further says that the rapid growth of cases in cold and dry provinces of China, such as Jilin and Heilongjiang; and the rate of transmission in tropical locations, such as Guangxi and Singapore, suggest increases in temperature and humidity in the spring and summer won’t decline the number of cases.
How countries responded to the pandemic to contain the number of infections?
What are the preventive meaures to avoid Covid-19?
There’s currently no proper antiviral treatment for Covid-19 or any vaccine available as yet.
The medical care can help relieve symptoms of disease. Some precautionary measures can help one in avoiding the infection. These include;
1) – Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose
2) – Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze
3)- Maintain social distancing
4) – Avoid crowded places
5) – Stay at home if you experience even a slight fever, and cough
6) – If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care immediately.
7) – Wash your hands frequently with good quality soap.
8) – Apply sanitizer on your hands.
9)- Don’t let anyone to cough, and sneeze at you especially when you treat the patient of Covid-19 or any other viral infection.
10)- Medical practitioners and security personnel need to wear the protection mask when at work.
11)- Frequent testing of contacts of Covid-19 patients and timely quarantine would also reduce the risk factor.