COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Coronavirus particle

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Coronavirus around the world, also known as:

  • 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease;
  • Novel coronavirus pneumonia;
  • Wuhan pneumonia;
  • Wuhan coronavirus;
  • Misspelled like corona virus, corona-virus, corono virus, coronovirus or coronavairus.

Coronavirus Disease Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms

The COVID19 virus affects different people in different ways. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and most infected people will develop mild to moderate coronavirus disease symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment. People who have underlying medical conditions and those over 60 years old have a higher risk of developing severe disease and death.

Common coronavirus disease symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses) and include:

Protective measures against COVID-19

Flattening the curve

To prevent infection and to slow transmission of the new coronavirus (COVID-19), do the following:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub;
  • Maintain at least 2 meter distance between you and other people;
  • Avoid touching your face;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing;
  • Stay home if you feel unwell;
  • Practice physical distancing by avoiding unnecessary travel and staying away from large groups of people.

Treatment of Coronavirus disease 2019

rRT-PCR test kit for COVID-19

Treatment of Coronavirus disease 2019 is mainly supportive care, which may include fluid, oxygen support, and supporting other affected vital organs. The WHO and CDC recommend that those who suspect they carry the virus wear a simple face mask. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) has been used to address the issue of respiratory failure, but its benefits are still under consideration.

Some medical professionals recommend paracetamol (acetaminophen) over ibuprofen for first-line use. The WHO does not oppose the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen for symptoms; currently there is no evidence that NSAIDs worsen COVID-19 symptoms. Steroids such as methylprednisolone are not recommended unless the disease is complicated by acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Coronavirus research

SARS-CoV-2

Vaccine

There is no available vaccine, but coronavirus research into developing a vaccine has been undertaken by various agencies. There are three vaccination strategies being investigated:

  • First, researchers aim to build a whole virus vaccine. The use of such a virus (inactive or dead) aims to elicit a prompt immune response of the human body to a new infection with COVID-19.
  • A second strategy, subunit vaccines, aims to create a vaccine that sensitises the immune system to certain subunits of the virus. In the case of SARS-CoV-2, such research focuses on the S-spike protein that helps the virus intrude the ACE2 enzyme receptor.
  • A third strategy is that of the nucleic acid vaccines (DNA or RNA vaccines, a novel technique for creating a vaccination).

COVID-19 F.A.Q.

This Questions and Answers page will be updated as more is known about COVID-19, how it spreads and how it is affecting people worldwide.

For more information, check back regularly on Get Vaccination pages.

Vaccination

Vaccination

Prevention is healthier than cure.

It has always been safer to stop something bad from happening than it has been to deal with it after happening.

Vaccination is the administration of a vaccine to help the immune system develop protection from a disease. Vaccines contain a microorganism or virus in a weakened, live or killed state, or proteins or toxins from the organism. In stimulating the body's adaptive immunity, they help prevent sickness from an infectious disease. When a sufficiently large percentage of a population has been vaccinated, herd immunity results. The effectiveness of vaccination has been widely studied and verified.

COVID-19: Could gut bacteria be involved?

Gut bacteria

The authors of a recent paper ask what role gut bacteria might play in COVID-19. They outline strands of existing evidence and conclude that a link between the two is plausible, but that more research is necessary.

Scientists have implicated gut bacteria in a number of conditions. From type 2 diabetes to depression, researchers have observed relationships between a wide range of disease states and the organisms that live in our gastrointestinal tract.

Why COVID-19 ICU patients may face risk of heart issues

Covid-19 patient

A new study suggests that COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICU) are more likely to suffer from cardiac arrests or arrhythmias caused by systemic issues.

New research found that COVID-19 patients in ICU were 10 times more likely to experience arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) than COVID-19 patients hospitalized but not admitted to ICU.

Steroid Sparks Hope and Skepticism

dexametazona

Preliminary results showing that a cheap steroid reduces the risk of death among gravely ill COIVD-19 patients is inspiring hope and skepticism.

The finding has not been peer-reviewed, but University of Oxford researchers announced the steroid dexamethasone—when given to patients on ventilators for up to 10 days—cut the risk of death by a third, CNN reports.

The risk of death for patients on oxygen but not on ventilators was reduced by a fifth, but the steroid made no difference among patients who didn’t require either.

But:

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