8 April 2020
The Covid-19 virus is humanity’s newest foe, with the potential to prematurely end millions of lives. Its fast and wide spreading nature has qualified it to be assigned the term of a pandemic.
- COVID-19 is a disease caused by the “novel corona virus”.
- Common symptoms are: Fever Dry cough Breathing difficulty Some patients also have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea .
- About 80% of confirmed cases recover from the disease without any serious complications.
- However, one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill* and develop difficulty in breathing.
- In more severe cases, infection can cause severe pneumonia and other complications which can be treated only at higher level facilities (District Hospitals and above).
- How does COVID-19 spread?
- COVID-19 spreads mainly by droplets produced as a result of coughing or sneezing of a COVID-19 infected person.
- This can happen in two ways:
- Direct close contact: one can get the infection by being in close contact with COVID-19 patients (within one Metre of the infected person), especially if they do not cover their face when coughing or sneezing.
- Indirect contact: The droplets survive on surfaces and clothes for many days. Therefore, touching any such infected surface or cloth and then touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes can transmit the disease.
- The incubation period of COVID 19 (time between getting the infection and showing symptoms) is 1 to 14 days.
- Some people with the infection, but without any serious symptoms can also spread the disease.
- Emphasis on prevention.
- Keeping good hygiene and by repeatedly washing hands.
- Avoiding contact with patients.
- Social Distancing and isolation.
- Wearing mask if infected.
- Lockdown to prevent spread.
- No specific medication has been found as yet only supporting care in the hospital to prevent loss of life.
- Scientists are working at the possibility of a vaccine.
Mechanism of Infection and Proliferation:
- Step-1- Virus recognises that it has found the right cell to infect.
- Step-2-Attaches to the host cell by way of spikes present on its surface. Virus is enclosed by a lipid membrane with spikes of protein on the outer surface.
- Step -3-Spike protein directly interacts with the host cell membrane and merges to form an opening or pore.
- Step-4-Virus transfers its genome (genetic material-RNA) into the host cell through this pore and eventually hijacking the host cell machinery to produce more viruses.
- Step -5-A person gets infected and the proliferation of virus begins.