Another mutant virus

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/24/2020 12:00:08 PM IST

 A deadly virus -Coronavirus or 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China - has ignited a global scare even as the disease claimed 26 lives and over 800 confirmed to have contracted it in China. The outbreak is believed to have originated in December last year in a seafood and meat market in the city of Wuhan. After spreading throughout China and other countries in Asia, it recently arrived in the U.S. The U.S. case involves a Washington state man in his 30s who had recently travelled to Wuhan. In China, the outbreak is responsible for hundreds of confirmed cases and more than a dozen deaths. Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but it is still a mystery from where it originated. The virus got the name from the crown-like shape. Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans. Chinese health authorities are still trying to determine the origin of the virus, which they say came from a seafood market in Wuhan where wildlife was also traded illegally. Many of those infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city, which also sold live and newly slaughtered animals. The WHO also says an animal source appears most likely to be the primary source of the outbreak. There are suspicions now that the new coronavirus may have originated in bats or snakes, and possibly then was transmitted to humans via an intermediary species. The virus showed itself in Wuhan province in China. According to Chinese medical scientists, the probable sources of the virus were suspected to be snakes - including the Chinese krait and the cobra. A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous. Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do: through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched. Seven strains are known to infect humans, including the virus in Wuhan. Four of the strains cause common colds. Two other strains, however, have been extremely deadly: Severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, and Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, are coronaviruses. So far, the Wuhan virus appears to be milder than SARS or MERS, though it has sickened some people severely and there have been deaths. There aren’t any drugs or vaccines approved specifically for the Wuhan virus. Antivirals already on the market might treat the infection, which researchers say they will start to investigate. In addition, a few vaccine makers have recently said they would begin developing products targeting the Wuhan virus. The new coronavirus can be transmitted between humans, according to Chinese health authorities. It is also adapting and mutating, which could make the virus spread faster and possibly more difficult to treat. It is not yet clear how infectious the virus is. Although many other coronaviruses are transmitted by coughing and sneezing, there are no indications so far that the virus is transmitted via the respiratory tract. Doctors have advised practicing good hygiene and caution, by avoiding close contact with individuals suffering from acute respiratory infections, or with wild animals or livestock, dead or alive. Doctors have also recommended regular washing of one’s hands, especially after being in direct contact with an ill person.

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