COVID-19 Pandemic At A Glance

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With more than seven months into the global pandemic, the coronavirus does not seem to decline. It is worsening day by day and has infected more than 24 million people and caused about 822k deaths. The novel coronavirus or COVID-19 was declared as a pandemic by the WHO on 11 March in the initial months of its spread.

Coronavirus is the general term given for the group of viruses that has spikes on its surface. The four subdivisions of coronavirus are namely alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. There are a total of seven coronaviruses that are identified to date whereas the first cases to emerge were in the mid-1960s. The seven types that are found in the human species are as follows:

229E (alpha coronavirus)

NL63 (alpha coronavirus)

OC43 (beta coronavirus)

HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

These four types are the most prevalent and people usually suffer from these four the most. Sometimes these coronaviruses react and make complex compounds and can infect humans as well as animals in the most gruesome way imaginable. The remaining three fall under this category:

MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)

SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)

SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19)

The SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for the widespread disease which we today know as COVID-19.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to have zoonotic origins and genetically similar to bat viruses. Even COVID-19 is believed to be first originated in the wet market at Wuhan, china where the virus might have jumped on from the bat to a human and we all know what happened after that. The first case of novel coronavirus was reported in December 2019 and is a global pandemic now. However, the SARS-CoV-2 virus indicates that the humans became prone to the virus only in 2019 until then there was no sign of it. And also no life-bearing organism is immune to COVID-19 where the cases worsen for humans if no preventive measures are taken.

It is recommended that you take a nose swab test and the throat swab test to check if you are a victim of COVID-19 or not. This is the regular coronavirus test but somehow if you are unable to do so there are a few symptoms that you can look for self-diagnosis. These symptoms include:

Dry cough

Dry throat

Sneezing

Fever

Tiredness

These symptoms are the most common and depending upon the severity of the disease the symptoms may also change to loss of appetite and loss of smell or taste. It is not until 14 days you realize that you are infected that is why it said to constantly wash your hands after regular intervals and use sanitized products as much as possible. 

The virus spreads through tiny droplets that come out of the mouth when a virus-infected person exhales or sneezes. The virus travels on these water surface and is transmitted to another person who might come in contact with. Earlier there were no signs that the virus may be airborne but WHO recently released the guidelines that the virus is also airborne. That means the transmission can take place through the air. If you breathe the air where the virus might be then in no time you are going o be the next victim.

Cities all across the globe went into lockdown for several months and still are under the same. Most of the nations like the USA, Russia, China banned international travel completely. Institutional quarantine centers were developed and if for some reason you are returning home in a different country you would have to undergo 14-day quarantine on your expenses. Schools, colleges, and the gathering of people in public places have been completely banned.

USA, Russia, India, brazil have been recognized as the worst-hit countries by coronavirus where the USA currently tops the charts with more than 183959 confirmed deaths whereas the death reported by china was only 4634 where the virus originated. Governments have tried different measures to curb the coronavirus crisis but nothing seems to be of help. Everybody in the world desperately awaits for the vaccine to be created so that the whole COVID-19 situation can be put to bed once and for all.

Though no proven cure has been found out yet for this infectious disease however the fight against is still on. In the early stages of the pandemic, people were given antibiotics but they were proven ineffective on the disease. Then a mixture of drugs was tried out on patients and a few of them showed positive results. A drug named hydroxychloroquine showed gradual improvements in most of the patients and they began to show positive signs of recovery within two weeks. Mild cases were treated in two weeks whereas severe cases take a long time up to six weeks. People started believing in the drug so much that some of the companies like Zydus Cadila boosted the production of hydroxychloroquine. The drug was being exported to countries like Pakistan, the United States of America, and Russia also. 

Talking about vaccines only one vaccine to date has been approved know as Sputnik-V with Gam-COVID-Vac which has been developed by the Gamaleya research institute in Moscow and was given a thumbs up by the ministry of health of Russian Federation on 11 August. People have raised some concerns about the vaccine as it is the first one to be created. Two phases of clinical rounds for the vaccine have been done whereas it is all set to enter the third phase of the clinical round. The pandemic has created unprecedented partnerships. The OWS or operation warp speed is the partnership amongst various US agencies including the health and human services. The United States government is funding three vaccine candidates for Phase 3 trials under Operation Warp Speed: Moderna’s mRNA-1273, by The University of Oxford, AstraZeneca’s AZD1222, and BioNTech’s BNT162. It is just not these two countries but there are vaccines from other countries and companies that are currently under the clinical trials for phases 1-3. Inactivated vaccine, CoronaVac, mRNA-1273 are the vaccines that are under phase three clinical trials. Thee vaccines are sponsored by the Wuhan Institute of biological products, sinovac and Moderna respectively. ZyCov-D is the vaccine that is under phase 2 trials being developed by zydus Cadila. Talking about India the oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials began. Five people have enrolled to be tested for vaccination in phase 2 trials of the vaccine.

The vaccine is currently named ‘covishield’ and is being manufactured by the serum institute of India along with AstraZeneca. This oxford vaccine is being prepared for low and middle-income countries.

Some facts about novel coronavirus:

The virus may stay in somebody’s body for about 14 days before they notice any symptom so it becomes the utmost priority to follow the government issued guidelines and practice social distancing at all times.

Where some people may get severely affected some people may experience a minor case and will recover without the need for doctor’s supervision. But that all depends on how immune your body is. Drinking lots of water and eating vitamin c enriched foods is one way to boost up your immunity.

Some people doubt that COVID-19 affects one community than the other. There is o such thing anyone can be infected by the virus the only difference you can make is about the age. Adults above 60 years and children below 10 years of age are at a higher risk and must take the precautions seriously.

The biggest fear among patients with HIV is whether they are more prone to the disease than the rest of the population? The answer to this is no. No such proofs are stating that people with HIV may get coronavirus. If you are HIV positive and on effective medications, there is a good chance just as anybody else that you may remain safe if you take all the necessary precautions and the guidelines issued properly.

The verdict on the whole COVID-19 is that we cannot bring back things that are gone but we can sure prevent worse things from happening. The only thing that right now goes into the minds of billions of people is how can we eradicate the COVID 19 virus? That may take some time but the thing we can do to prevent it from spreading it like wildfire is social distancing and sanitization of ourselves as well as our homes and our workplace. The vaccine is under development by doctors and scientists from all over the world and everybody is working as a single unit to make the whole pandemic go away. Different combinations of medicines are being given to the patients to cure them as soon as possible.

Till the dust settles we have to practice social distancing at all places and must wash our hands from time to time at all costs. As we have truly learned the meaning of prevention is better than cure during these days more than anything else.

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