What do we know and what do we need to know about Coronavirus

A senior scientist in Vigyan Prasar, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India, Dr. TV Venkateswaran tells us some most important facts about coronavirus. So don’t get panicked. Please go through the text.

  • Infection: The virus infects the epithelial cells in the throat and lungs. SARS-CoV-2 binds to the ACE2 receptors on human cells. Virus on your skin, lacking ACE2 expression, will be harmless. Our hands are the main instruments that take the virus to reach our mouth, nose and eyes. Washing hands with soap water for 20 seconds as often as possible helps prevent the infection.
  • Infectious dosage: A dose of 700000 PFU (Plaque forming unit) is needed to infect a Macaque. Humans will need a higher dosage than 700000 PFU to get infected. An animal study on the genetically modified mice with ACE2 receptors showed that it could be infected with SARS with just 240 PFU. In comparison, it required 70,000 PFU of novel coronavirus to get infected.

         Few more informations about coronavirus

  • Infectious period: Length of time an individual can transmit the infection to others is not known precisely, but possibly up to 10-14 days. Artificially reducing the contagious period is a crucial method of reducing overall transmission. Hospitalisation, isolation, lockdown and quarantine are all effective methods.
  • Who can infect: Anyone infected with the virus can infect even before the symptoms appear. The virus is present in the saliva, sputum and faces of the infected person for the whole infectious period.

Another few informations about coronavirus

  • How we infect: Transmission is mostly via droplets. This requires relatively close contact, less than 6 feet. Stay 1.5 metres away from each other in public places such as the vegetable market or supermarket. It is safe sanitise out hands after touching doorknobs, lift call buttons and counters in public places.
  • How many we infect:  The average number of new infections caused by a typical infectious person, that is human transmissibility range (R0) is between 2.2 to 3.1. In simple word, one infected individual on the average infects about 2.2 to 3.1 persons.  By physical distancing, we can artificially reduce the actual transmissibility.

Few more informations about coronavirus

  • Can one be infected twice: Once we get measles, most of us acquire life long immunity. We hardly get measles again. There is no evidence of reinfection with SARS-CoV-2 after recovery in humans. Though, how long the immunity will last is unknown.
  • How severe is the illness: COVID-19 is not a death sentence. The majority of COVID-19 cases are mild (81%), About 15% need hospitalisation and 5% require critical care. That is the vast majority of the infected will not even need hospitalisation.

Last few words about coronavirus

  • Who are the most vulnerable: Aged, in particular above 60 years of age and people with prior cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and respiratory conditions have a higher risk.
  • What is the cause of the death: Most of the deaths is caused by respiratory failure or respiratory failure combined with heart damage. Leakage of fluid into the lungs, which inhibits respiration and leads to morbidity, is the primary clinical condition.
  • Are the virus transmitted by milk sachets, or newspapers: SARS-CoV-2 can persist on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 3 days. When the viral load was 10000 PFU, it lasted on newspaper and cotton cloth only for 5 minutes. Washing the milk sachets is adequate to remove the virus.

(Courtesy- PIB)

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