What is Coronavirus?

What is Coronavirus - Panic arose amidst the streets of Wuhan, China, in the last weeks of 2019 just before the world was preparing to welcome a new decade.

Many local hospitals there, reported a number of unusual cases with patients who had severe pulmonary infection without a definite cause and they were not responding to the existing medications or vaccines for respiratory illnesses.

What first appeared to be an uncontrollable infection in Wuhan, progressively spread to the entire world  and turned into a pandemic in the present day, which shall be recorded in the world history and history books.

A tiny virus which is about two thousand times smaller than a grain of sand has led to the lock down of the entire world with every individual being quarantined. Soon after it's spread from China to the world, it was associated with the SARS related Coronavirus.

The SARS Associated Novel Coronavirus belonging to the family Coronaviridae is a RNA virus which is responsible for respiratory tract infections. The virus has been linked to the bats and their consumption which is popular in China.

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Coronavirus are enveloped and possess a helical symmetry with the genomic size ranging from 16 to 31 kilobases, they are extraordinarily large for RNA virus. Their electron microscopy reveals, round bulbous structures which are formed by the viral spikes (S) (peplomers).

These are proteinous in nature and determine the host tropism. Apart from the Spikes the Other proteins contributing to the overall viral structures are the envelope (E) membrane (M) and nucleocapsid (N).

The coronavirus replicates once it is  introduced in the host and enter the cytoplasm of the cell. After entering , the virus particle gets uncoated and deposits its RNA genome into the cytoplasm. The genome of the coronavirus consists of 5' methylated cap and 3' polyadenylated a tail which mimics the host RNA closely.

This further allows the RNA to attach to the ribosomes for translation. For transcription a discontinuous RNA synthesis (template switch) is involved. The N protein acts as a chaperone which facilitates the RNA switch. Translation is initiated by both cap Independent and Cap dependent mechanism.

Coronavirus are transmitted via the aerosols of the respiratory secretions of the affected individual, by human to human transmission, by the mechanical transmissions and due to contaminated surfaces.
The virus grows mostly in the epithelial cells.

It affects both upper and lower respiratory tract and has been estimated to be fatal to  immunocompromised as well as elderly individuals primarily after 6th decade all the individuals with underlying conditions such as diabetes cardiovascular diseases or other chronic respiratory illnesses.

The currently estimated incubation Period of the virus is 1 to 12.5 days with the average estimation of 5 to 6 days but it can  prolong further to 14 days. Due to the unusual incubation period of the virus, the testing is a very complicated procedure.

The current testing facility uses the PCR technique to determine the coronavirus infection apart from the other diagnosis such as fever, cold and other infections resembling flu.

As much as the fatality of coronavirus has been observed the medical healthcare professionals are very prone to this gravid disease. The pivotal role of saliva and aerosol transmission has put the dental health care  personnel at the high risk. Dental procedures on patients with Covid-19 are high risk procedures and and dentists are directly and closely exposed.

Therefore, it is crucial for the dentists to refine and upgrade the preventive strategies to avoid ko with 19 until a cure / vaccine is discovered for the pandemic. Various Nations have come forward with the trial vaccines and medications for the pandemic and there hasn't been much of a success yet.

Currently, the patients are being treated with the plasma therapy as the plasma of the recovered individuals from Covid-19 has proven to be effective for their affected individuals. Another approach for treatment is the usage of antimalarial drug called the hydroxychloroquine popularly abbreviated as HCQ.

The drug has been proven to be effective and India being the potent developer of the drug has distributed the drug widely to other Nations and help contribute for the human welfare in the current pandemic situation.

The only possible way to deal with this pandemic is by staying sanitized and avoiding close contact with the affected individual along with avoiding touching of, the eyes nose mouth and face.

The ongoing drug trial on humans has given rise to hope for a permanent cure to be developed soon and until then, prevention is always better than cure.

Written by:
Anam Khan

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