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Coronavirus disease 2019

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Coronavirus disease 2019
(COVID-19)
Other names
  • 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease
  • Novel coronavirus pneumonia[1]
  • Wuhan pneumonia;[2][3] Wuhan flu[4]
  • "Coronavirus" or other names for SARS-CoV-2
COVID-19 symptoms
COVID-19 symptoms
Pronunciation
SpecialtyAcute respiratory infection[5]
SymptomsFever, dry cough, shortness of breath
ComplicationsPneumonia, ARDS, kidney failure
Usual onset2-14 days
CausesSARS-CoV-2
Risk factorsNot taking preventive measures
Diagnostic methodrRT-PCR testing, immunoassay, CT scan
PreventionCorrect hand washing technique, cough etiquette, avoiding close contact with sick people or subclinical carriers,social distancing practices, face masks
TreatmentSymptomatic and supportive,
Frequency218,815[6] confirmed cases
Deaths8,810[6] (3.4% of confirmed cases; lower when unreported cases are included)[7]

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2),[8] a virus closely related to the SARS virus.[9][10][11]

The disease is the cause of the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak.[12][13] Those who get the disease might get a fever, dry cough, fatigue (tiredness) and shortness of breath. A sore throat, runny nose or sneezing is less common. In very bad cases, they can even get a much worse fever, decreased white blood cells, might cough up blood, and have kidney failure.

People with this disease can get pneumonia and multi-organ failure if they are weak, old, or are already sick.[12][13] There are people who are called asymptomatic carriers, which means that they did not have all or some of the symptoms of the virus. This is very dangerous since they may not know that they have the virus and can transfer it to other people without knowing it. The countries with the most sick people, are Italy, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Name[change | change source]

In February 2020, the World Health Organization announced they had chosen a name for the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2: COVID-19, replacing the temporary name "2019-nCoV."[14] "Co" is for "corona," "Vi" for "virus," and "D" for "disease," and "19" for the year 2019. They said they did not want the name to have any person, place, or animal in it, like "Wuhan," because then people might blame the disease on that place, person, or animal. They also wanted the name to be easy to say out loud.[15]

How the virus causes disease[change | change source]

The expanding part of the lungs, pulmonary alveoli, have two main types of cells. One cell, type I, absorbs from the air, i.e. gas exchange. The other, type II, produces surfactants, which help keep the lungs fluid, clean, infection free, etc. COVID-19 finds a way into a surfactant producing type II cell, and smothers it by reproducing COVID-19 virus within it. Each type II cell which is killed by the virus causes an extreme reaction in the lungs. Fluids, pus, and dead cell material flood the lung, causing the coronavirus pulmonary disease.[16]

Lung damage[change | change source]

Scientists looked at the lungs from people who died of COVID-19. They compared them to lungs from people who died of influenza A and to lungs from people who died but not from any problem with their lungs. They saw the cells that made up the skins of the blood vessels in the lungs were more badly damaged in the lungs from COVID-19 patients, and there was more blood clotting. The most important difference the scientists saw was that the lungs had begun to grow new blood vessels.[17][18]

Symptoms[change | change source]

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 makes people feel sick in different ways, but it usually affects the lungs. People usually cough and have difficulty breathing. They often also have a fever, chills, headache, pain in their muscles, or trouble tasting or smelling things.[19]

According to an April 2020 study by the American Gastroenterological Association, COVID-19 can make sick people vomit or have diarrhea but this is rare. They said about 7.7% of COVID-19 patients threw up, about 7.8% had diarrhea and about 3.6% had pain in their stomachs.[20]

COVID-19 and pollution[change | change source]

Scientists saw that more people died from COVID-19 in places with large amounts of air pollution. One team of scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg looked at air pollution information from satellites and statistics on COVID-19 deaths in Italy, France, Germany and Spain and saw that places with large amounts of nitrogen dioxide pollution had more people die from COVID-19. Nitrogen dioxide can damage the lungs.[21][22]

Prevention[change | change source]

There are many ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Washing hands for at least 20 seconds will help destroy the viruses.[23][24][25] Avoiding touching your own eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands is another way to avoid catching COVID-19.[23][24][25]

People should avoid crowded places whenever possible, because close contact with large groups of people can easily spread the virus.[23][24][25] In fact, many health organizations say that people should stay at least two metres from another person..[a] Some people wear face masks to avoid catching the virus, and it is recommended by countries such as China,[28] Hong Kong[29] and Thailand.[30]

Tests and testing[change | change source]

Experts recommend testing people for COVID-19. Some people may have SARS-CoV-2 in their bodies but not feel sick right away. These people can spread the virus to others.

There are two types of tests. Viral tests show whether a person has the virus right then. Antibody tests show whether the person had the virus and has since recovered.[31]

A group of scientists from Hokkaido University developed an antibody test that could detect avian flu antibodies in only 20 minutes. They said their test could be changed to detect SARS-CoV-2.[32][33]

Medicines[change | change source]

The virus that causes COVID-19 is new to humans. This means that there are no medicines that can stop people from getting COVID-19 or that can treat them if they do get it. Scientists are working hard to invent and test new medicines. Some scientists are trying to invent a new vaccine which would stop people from getting sick with COVID-19. Other scientists are testing medicines used for other diseases to see if those medicines make people get less sick if they do get COVID-19.

Vaccines[change | change source]

In April 2020, the group Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) said that scientists were looking at 115 compounds that could be a vaccine.[34] Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says it takes 18 months to test a vaccine to make sure it works and is safe.[35]

In April 2020, scientists from the University of Pittsburgh said they had made a vaccine, called PittCoVacc, and tested it in mice.[36][37]

Another team of scientists led by Dr. Josef Penninger of the University of British Columbia invented a medicine called APN01. They tested APN01 in engineered human tissue. This is human cells put together to act like part of the body, but it is not a whole animal or person. They added a protein called "human recombinant soluble angiotensin converting enzyme 2" (hrsACE2) and saw that it stopped the virus from taking over cells. They named their hrsACE2 APN01.[38][39]

This picure shows why its good to wash hands, and more so during this pandemic. If everyone washed their hands, they can help give doctors and other people who work in health and medicine more time to help people.[40][41][42]
Covid-19-curves-graphic2-stopthespread-v3.gif
The current death rate of COVID-19
These experts talk about COVID-19.

In late April 2020, a team from Oxford University said that they had developed a COVID-19 vaccine. The United States National Institutes of Health tested it in rhesus monkeys, and it worked. Because they had already been working on a vaccine against a different coronavirus, they had a head start working on one for SARS-CoV-2. They would try to test their vaccine on 6000 people by the end of May 2020, and that their vaccine could be ready for people to use in September 2020.[43][44]

Other scientists are developing vaccines that use messenger RNA to teach the body to recognize the virus. They say mRNA vaccines will take less time to develop and make than protein or whole-virus vaccines.[45][46]

In mid-May 2020, a company called Moderna said they tested their mRNA vaccine in forty-five people and eight of them produced antibodies[47]but they did not publish the specific data or publish an article in a scientific journal.[48] Anna Durbin of Johns Hopkins University said it was too soon to tell if people would keep the antibodies long enough for the vaccine to work.[49] The United States Food and Drug Administration gave Moderna permission to test the vaccine again in more people. Moderna's chief medical officer said the vaccine could be ready in January 2021.[47]

Hydroxychloroquine[change | change source]

Some people think hydroxychloroquine, a medicine given to people with malaria, lupus, and arthritis, could work against COVID-19. One study from China showed that COVID-19 patients who took hydroxychloroquine got better faster, but the study was not peer reviewed. Other studies in France and China seemed to show hydroxychloroquine helped, but the doctors did not compare patients who took hydroxychloroquine to patients who did not, so they could not be sure it was the hydroxychloroquine that was helping them or whether it was something else.[50] In March, the United States Food and Drug Administration allowed doctors to give hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients.[51]

United States President Donald Trump said that the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine could help treat COVID-19, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is part of the White House official coronavirus task force, said no one could know if hydroxychloroquine worked against SARS-CoV-2. In early April, the New York Times reported that President Trump has "a small personal financial interest" in Sanofi, one of the companies that makes hydroxychloroquine, meaning that if the company sold more hydroxychloroquine, he would make money from it.[51]

In early April, Fauci said, "The data are really just at best suggestive. There have been cases that show there may be an effect and there are others to show there's no effect."[52] Dr. Megan L. Ranney of Brown University said that hydroxychloroquine can cause heart attacks and other problems. Other doctors worry that if people take hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, there will not be enough left for people with malaria, lupus, and arthritis. Still, some hospitals have given hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 patients who are very sick because the doctors think it is worth the risk.[50]

Scientists in France and China performed more studies on larger groups of patients taking hydroxychloroquine. They watched patients who were taking the medicine and other treatment together and at patients who were only taking the other threatment. Both studies showed that hydroxychloroquine did not help and did cause side effects. Both studies were published in May 2020.[53]

Remdesivir[change | change source]

Some scientists also think the drug remdesivir, which was invented as a medicine for Ebola, could work against SARS-CoV-2. Remdesivir works against other viruses and it has already been tested in humans, so the doctors already knew it would not hurt the patients even if it did not make them better. Because scientists already knew remdesivir was safe, they were able to start testing it in humans right away.[54][55]

Doctors gave remdesivir to some COVID-19 patients on a compassionate basis, meaning they gave them the drug because there was no other treatment available. 68% of the patients got better, 13% died, and 25% had serious side effects. But because the study had no control group, meaning these patients were not compared to other COVID-19 patients who were not taking remdesivir, and because only 53 people were in the experiment, scientists must run more studies before they can be sure remdesivir works.[54][55]

The chairman and CEO of the company that makes remdesivir, David O'Day, said that remdesivir might work better in some patients than in others and asked scientists to perform many different kinds of studies. [54][55]

Antibodies[change | change source]

Some scientists gave SARS and MERS to llamas so the llamas' immune systems would make antibodies, or natural medicines, against those viruses, and they found a few antibodies that worked. In a May 2020 study, the scientists said this could work with SARS-CoV-2 too.[56][57]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Close contact is defined as one metre (three feet) by the WHO[26] and two metres (six feet) by the CDC.[27]

References[change | change source]

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  2. Campbell C (20 January 2020). "The Wuhan Pneumonia Crisis Highlights the Danger in China's Opaque Way of Doing Things". Time. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  3. Lucey D, Sparrow A (14 January 2020). "China Deserves Some Credit for Its Handling of the Wuhan Pneumonia". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  4. Stobbe M (8 February 2020). "Wuhan coronavirus? 2018 nCoV? Naming a new disease". Fortune. Associated Press. Retrieved 13 March 2020.
  5. See SARS-CoV-2 for more.
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  8. "Naming the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the virus that causes it". www.who.int. World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 2020-02-28. Retrieved 2020-02-28.
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