What COVID-19 Really Means or How the Virus Got Its Name

The recently appeared Coronavirus is responsible for the global pandemic of COVID-19. The WHO gave it a name back in February. COVID-19 is short for “The Illness of Corona Virus 2019”. The reason is that the first case of this uncharacteristic pneumonia was reported on the 31. December 2019 in Wuhan, China. However, there are some doubts that this virus was around even before the start of this pandemic.

At the same time, WHO published the official name of the virus SARS-CoV-2. It was named like that since this virus is a genetic cousin of SARS-CoV who was responsible for the pandemic back in 2003. Yet, that virus was remembered only as a SARS, which is short for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

How WHO Gives a Name to the Illness?

WHO has three rules when it comes to giving a name to a new illness or virus. Now we are going to present them to you:

  • They need to be short and easily spoken
  • Can present a combination of a descriptive word (like respiratory) and with the condition (like progressive)
  • It’s preferred to have everyday language instead of technical
  • If the pathogen who causes the illness is known, it needs to be included in the name

Naturally, there are rules of what should not be included:

  • Words that cause fear (like fatal)
  • Countries of geographical terms
  • Animals or items
  • Human names
  • Terms connected to certain industries or jobs

These rules are not strictly followed sometimes. Therefore, we have terms like Bird Flu (Avian Influenza), Spanish Flu, MRSA infection, Legionella Pneumophila, etc.

The Origin of Coronavirus – REVEALED

As the new coronavirus which causes the disease Covid-19 continues to infect the global population with the number of confirmed cases being over 350.000, there is also a lot of misinformation being spread around as well.

One theory was that the virus was made by scientists in Wuhan, and that it broke out causing a global pandemic. This is highly improbable.

Experts in the field of microbiology have observed the genetic template of the spikes from the surface of the new coronavirus, which the virus uses to attach to the external cell walls of its host and afterwards enter those cells. Scientists have examined the gene sequences responsible for the two key attributes of these spikes: their method of hooking to the host and entering the cell.

The analysis has shown that the part of the spike called “the hook” has developed to target the receptors from human cells called ACE2. The virus proved to be highly capable of hooking up to the human cells that the scientists have concluded the origin of the spike proteins in SARS-KoV-2 to be a result of natural selection, not genetical engineering.

Scientists have researched the connection between SARS-KoV and SARS-KoV-2. Through data gathering, we can see that the computer simulations of SARS-KoV-2 mutations show low capabilities of the virus connecting to the human cells. From there on we can conclude that the new coronavirus isn’t man-made. If a person decided to create a deadly virus, they wouldn’t choose one with such poor abilities to latch onto a host. However, nature proved to be smarter than the scientists, going against all odds and making the virus completely different than anything scientists could’ve made.

Another evidence that suggests SARS-KoV-2 wasn’t made in a lab is its molecular structure, which discerns from other known coronaviruses. It mostly resembles viruses found in bats and crustaceans, which were considered to be low-risk for humans due to their unexplored properties.

How did SARS-KoV-2 become a threat to humanity? There are a few theories. The first one is that we got it directly from an infected animal, as was the case with both SARS and MERS. In this case, the animal was probably either a bat or a crustacean. Another theory is that the virus mutated to its current pathogen structure after the virus was transferred to humans.

If the first theory is true, it could mean bad news because the virus could return causing another outbreak, but if it has to be present in humans to mutate the probability of it happening is significantly lower.

Symptoms of Coronavirus and Should you go to the Doctor

The symptoms of the Coronavirus, what is Covid-19, when you should go to the doctor, and many more questions were answered below.

What’s Coronavirus, and what’s Covid-19?

The illness that first started in Wuhan, China, is called Covid-19, and a member of the coronavirus family causes it. It is the first time the world is encountered with this virus, but like other coronaviruses, it came from animals.

What are the most typical symptoms of Covid-19 causes?

The symptoms that are caused by this virus are pneumonia-like symptoms. People that have been infected with the virus are suffering from fever, coughs, and breathing difficulties. There has been organ failure in severe cases. Because this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics can’t be used to treat it. The conventional drugs that are used for flu won’t work with Covid-19. The recovery process and time depend on the immune system of an individual and the strength of it. The people that have died in the past few months had a very bad immune system and were in poor health.

When should I go to the doctor?

If you are coughing, you shouldn’t go to the doctor. The advice from experts around the world is to stay home for at least 14 days if you develop a persistent cough or high temperature and to keep away from other people. It goes for everyone, both the people that have traveled abroad and those who didn’t.

For more information, you should visit the website of the WHO or your government.

For those that get worse symptoms, or the symptoms last for more than seven days, you should first call your health provider.

How is the virus transmitted?

The virus is transmitted human to human, and China’s national health commission confirmed that in January. Because of that, there is an ongoing pandemic in the world.

Is this virus more dangerous than the regular flu?

There is not much information about this virus, and the experts don’t know much about it. The regular, seasonal flu has a mortality rate below 1% typically, Sars had a death rate of more than 10%, and for Covid-19 the mortality rate is estimated to be over 3% for the elderly and those with poor health, and below 1% for the young ones.

There have been some speculations that Coronavirus is more contagious than the seasonal flu, and one of the main differences between the two of them is that there is no vaccine for the Coronavirus. That means that it’s more difficult for people to protect themselves, especially older adults and those with a weak immune system, respiratory or cardiovascular problems.

What should you do?

The most important thing that you need to do is to take care of your everyday hygiene. You should wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. You should cover your mouth with your elbow if you cough or sneeze, or in a tissue, if you have one, but be sure that you throw it in the trash and wash your hands after it. You should stay at home if you feel sick, or if you were traveling to an infected area. You should remain in your house for 14 days, and seek medical help by phone if you have any of the symptoms.

Are there any other Coronaviruses?

It is not the first Coronavirus that people were encountered. Both SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome) are caused by Coronaviruses that came from animals.

SARS spread to 37 countries in 2002, infecting more than 8,000 people and killing more than 750. MERS was different because it wasn’t that easy to be affected, but the mortality rate was significant, it killed 35% of around 2,500 people that were infected.

How many people have been infected with Covid-19?

More than 182,000 people have been infected as of March 15th, in more than 80 countries. Globally there have been more than 7,500 deaths, and just over 3,000 of them were in mainland China. But fortunately more than 79,000 people have recovered from Covid-19.