Corona viruses: Introduction and Emergence
Corona viruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they are what, Scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Corona viruses belong to a family known as Coronaviridae, and under an electron microscope they look like spiked rings. They’re named for these spikes, which form a halo or “crown” (corona is Latin for crown) around their viral envelope. An ongoing outbreak of pneumonia associated with a novel coronavirus, called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was reported in Wuhan, Hubei province, China on December 2019. With the rapid rise, the infection spreads throughout China and other Nations of the world. These types of viruses are found in animals ranging from livestock and household pets to wildlife such as bats. Some are responsible for disease, like the common cold. When they make the jump to humans, they can cause fever, respiratory illness and inflammation in the lungs. In immune compromised individuals, such as the elderly or those with HIV-AIDS, such viruses can cause severe respiratory illness, resulting in pneumonia and even death. Extremely pathogenic corona viruses were behind the diseases SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) in the last two decades. These viruses were easily transmitted from human to human but were suspected to have passed through different animal intermediaries. SARS was traced to civet cats and MERS to dromedary camels. SARS, which showed up in the early 2000s, infected more than 8,000 people and resulted in nearly 800 deaths. MERS, which appeared in the early 2010s, infected almost 2,500 people and led to more than 850 deaths.
Structure of SARS-CoV-2
Corona viruses contain a single strand of RNA, within the envelope. The spikes on the viral envelope help corona viruses bind to cells, which gives them a way to attach with the hosts. Once entering within the host cell, they turn the cell into a virus factory — the RNA and some enzymes use the cell’s molecular machinery to produce more viruses, which are then shipped out of the cell to infect other cells, triggering another cycle. The model was created by assembling 3D parts together from related COVID-19 corona virus structures available in public databases.
Effect and pathogenicity of COVID2019
COVID-19 infections mostly appear around 5.2 days after incubation. The period of onset of its symptoms ranges from 6 to 41 days with a median of 14 days. This is dependent on the age of the patient and the status of his immune system. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and fatigue while other symptoms include headache, diarrhea, lymphopenia, and dyspnea. The symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. Based on the first 435 cases reported in the center of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei, the median age of patients infected with Sars Cov-2 virus was 59 years old. More than half of the patients are male and there are no cases for children younger than 15 years of age. The current fatality rate is at 2% but many experts believe it could be much lower due to the lack of testing kits and unreported mild cases which mean more people may have the infection but aren’t added in the official count. Patients infected with COVID-19 showed abnormal respiratory findings, high leukocyte numbers, and increased levels of plasma pro-inflammatory cytokines. It also led to damage and infection in the lungs and excessive immune response which causes pneumonia. These symptoms are found similar to patients infected with the previous SARS-CoV-2 and MERS CoV. Based on the current data, the occurrence and development of the virus in the body depends on the individual’s immune system. The immune system can also be affected by factors such as age, gender, nutritional status, and physical status. Currently, there are no vaccines or anti-viral treatments officially approved for the management of the COVID-19.
Economic Crisis due to COVID2019 pandemic
The epidemic Covid-19 continues to expand more than 175 countries and is taking toll on global and domestic activities and economy. The number of infected cases is escalating each day with the first few cases being reported in China (in December 2019) now been recorded in almost every nation on the globe. The severe spread of virus has halted domestic and trade activities across various economies which have disrupted routine activities of multiple nations bringing the countries to halt thus distorting their economic growth. Several countries across the world have been announcing travel restrictions, partial or complete lockdown to contain the spread of virus and to avoid the situation of crisis. The Indian economy is also getting hit hard by Covid-19. The first case in India was reported on 30 January 2020. Post this, the number of cases have been on a surge with every state in the country facing the threat of virus. Subsequently, various transport facilities including trains and flights were suspended and several state governments started imposing lockdown across their territories third week of March onwards till 31 March 2020. Also, nation-wide lockdown of 21 days was announced 25 March 2020 onwards which is expected to hurt domestic operations in India.
In general, there are few or no treatment options for viral diseases that occur suddenly. In parallel with this knowledge, today there is no vaccine or effective treatment to prevent COVID’2019 infection. Researchers are going on and different molecules and drugs and their combinations are being tested for COVID’ 2019 in-vitro and in vivo both. Medical authorities in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients.
(a) Favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients. In 2016, the Japanese government supplied favipiravir as an emergency aid to counter the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea.
(b) The Ebola drug: Remdesivir was originally developed as an Ebola treatment, but the drug has emerged as a frontrunner among potential antiviral drugs to combat Covid-19. The drug works against SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), two other coronaviruses that are more lethal but less transmissible.
(c) The anti-malaria drug: chloroquine
- Chloroquine is a cheap, widely available drug that has been routinely used since 1945 against malaria and other conditions. • Doctors said 25% of patients who received the drug tested positive for the virus after six days, compared with 90% of those who did not receive it. WHO is also using it in clinical trials for COVID-19.
(d) Anti-HIV Drug: Combination of medications lopinavir and ritonavir which are second-line HIV drugs are being used in animal trials. Both were discharged after testing negative twice for the virus, as per the established protocol. After positive outcome in Jaipur, 3 patients in Mumbai put on anti-HIV drugs. The government has revised its clinical management guidelines for COVID-19. Lopinavir/ Ritonavir should only be used with proper informed expressed consent on a case to case basis for severe cases.
Coronavirus (COVID’2019) Alternative Treatment and Prevention
Though there is currently no scientific evidence that any natural or alternative remedies can either prevent or “cure” the illness caused by the virus. The best prevention is to avoid exposure to the virus. It has been found covid-19 survivors have been using herbal remedies as an alternative source of medication which helped them prevent COVID-19. Most popular among the users have been found are high dose Vitamin C and Colloidal Silver. Other suggestions include supplements like Iodine, Selenium, Zinc, Monolaurin, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Oregano Oil. A Complex Carb diet is also recommended, as are alkalizing foods. Theoretically, regular daily hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargle (HSNIG) could be a proactive step to kill the coronavirus. Our country is taking bold actions to curtail the spread of COVID-19. In light of the tremendous transmission rate of the virus, it is their recommendation that everyone practice HSNIG. While this hypothesis needs to be confirmed, they do not see a downside to implementing this very safe self-care approach now, in addition to the current measures of social distancing and personal hygiene. Besides these, antioxidants and Vitamin C or citrus fruits should be consumed to enhance the immunogenicity levels to fight against COVID’2019.