COVID-19; Facts, Awareness, and Prevention

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(Last Updated On: April 2, 2020)
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for COVID-19
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for COVID-19. Image: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM via Wikimedia

As an admin of BiochemPages.com, I would like to inform all of the valuable visitors of my website that there is a worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus that was previously known as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). So, it is my humble request to all of you to stay safe and take precautions. Wash your hands often with soap and water at least for 20 seconds and then apply 70% alcohol-based sanitizer to reduce the chance of getting infected through touch-based contaminations.

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What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 means coronavirus disease-2019. It is caused by coronavirus-2 or SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). The first case of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) disease appeared in Wuhan, China (December 2019) and started spreading worldwide. Some reports say SARS-CoV-2 first transmitted from animal (possibly bat) to human being then human to human transmission started. According to the world health organization (WHO), there have been 266,073 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11, 184 confirmed deaths by COVID-19 (21 March 2020, 21:35 GMT +5:45). It is highly contagious and has become pandemic spreading all over the world (almost 183 countries).

What is SARS-CoV-2?

SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA (+ssRNA) virus having a diameter of 50-200 ɳm. Like other coronaviruses, it is made up of four structural proteins namely S (spike), E (envelope), M (membrane) and N (nucleocapsid) proteins. The RNA genome of the virus lies inside the nucleocapsid protein and it is the spike protein responsible for the transmission of the virus from one host to another. Spike proteins allow the virus to get attached to the membrane of the host cell and then the virus enters the human cell through the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor human cells.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of the COVID-19 are not specific but can be confusing with flu-like symptoms. People infected with COVId-19 may be asymptomatic or may develop flu-like symptoms such as cough, running nose, fever, fatigue, muscle pain, and breathlessness. It can take 1 to 14 days to appear symptoms of COVID-19 depending upon the person’s immune system.

How to stop COVID-19 spread?

Since SARS-CoV-2 affects the respiratory system, it can easily be spread an infected person. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, the droplets can land on the faces or the hands of the surrounding people and infects them. Medical reports say coronavirus can survive in the surfaces or objects in the environment for up to 9 days and touching those surfaces can lead to the infection with the SARS-CoV-2.

Prevention of COVID-19

To prevent spreading COVID-19, please maintain good personal hygiene and wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, use tissue paper while coughing/sneezing and immediately dispose of into the dustbin, maintain social distance, stop handshaking and hugging people as a greeting, avoid going to the crowded places, vulnerable area such as hospitals.

Surgical masks are recommended only for the people infected with SARS-CoV-2 and people who are taking care of the infected people, however, any healthy people who are at high risk of getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 may wear masks.  

Use of hand sanitizers

There are a lot of hand sanitizers available in the market but before buying you should read out what concentration of alcohol they have. It is advised that only those hand sanitizers that contain 62-70 % alcohol (Ethanol or Isopropanol) are most effective than the one containing less concentration of alcohol or no alcohol at all. However, washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective method to keep yourself safe from getting contamination. For the disinfection of contact surfaces or other materials, it is advised to use 0.5 % hydrogen peroxide, 0.1 % sodium hypochlorite or 50-100% Isopropanol.

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