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Sunday, October 18, 2020

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Disease: All you need to know about 2020 pandemic

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    21st century's most severe disease Covid19 has become the matter of concern. So far around 110 millions people worldwide have been affected with the virus and more than 2.43 millions people have been dead just because of this novel coronavirus. Novel Coronavirus belongs to the family of SARS Coronavirus (Severe Acute Respiratory System) which was spread in 2003, worldwide. 



    In Nov 2019, the people of Wuhan City of Eastern China started falling ill with pneumonia like symptoms. Earlier it was considered pneumonia as whatever the symptoms patients there were showing, belonged to pneumonia but the transmission rate of it is very high.

     Li Wenliang, an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital warned his ex-medical school classmates on 30th Dec 2019 that he noticed several patient with SARC like illness. After further examination of the patients by the doctors, it was found that it is a Novel Coronavirus. Then it was given the name severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) by International Committee on Taxonomy of Virus (ICTV) and the disease will be known as COVID-19, the name which was provided by World Health Organization (WHO).


    Gradual assessment and research on the covid-19 affected patients are helping doctors to understand it extensively. Based on this research and assessment, the doctors are able to understand that the virus takes 2 to 14 days for the incubation after the virus enters the body. In this period the patient may have the following symptoms:  

Common symptoms 

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Cough

     Fever and Cough are also common in flu but Covid-19 and flu can be differentiated by the order of the symptoms. According to the study conducted by the University of Southern California, it is suggested that in most covid-19 infected people, fever is the early sign of symptoms and cough afterward while in flu it is cough which starts with the infection.  

Some other less severe Symptoms

  • Aches and Pains
  • Running Nose
  • Sore Throat 
  • Diarrhea
  • Conjunctivitis 
  • Rashes on Skin or Discolouration of Finger or Toes 
  • Loss of Taste 
  • Loss of Smell

    Although the early sign of Covid-19 is fever and some other symptoms which are mentioned above, they are identical and could be confusing with other illnesses. Due to this reason, it is hard to identify Covid-19. The two unique symptoms, loss of smell and loss of taste are most appropriate to identify the disease according to the study conducted by the University College of London (UCL) and published in PLOS Medicine. In this case one should immediately isolate oneself and seek medical help.  

Severe Symptoms

  • Difficulty in Breathing or Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain or Pressure 
  • Loss of Speech and Movement
  • Bluish Lips and Face

    If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, you should immediately seek emergency medical attention. 

          The symptoms mentioned above are considered after throughout observation of the Covid-19 patients. There might be some other symptoms which might not have included so far. Patients should tell the doctors all their symptoms. Central of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in US, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in India and all the institution throught the world are continuously observing the patients with new symptoms.        

    Some people do not have symptoms but carry virus. There is debate on the number of asymptomatic cases and recently the World Health Organization (WHO) claimed that nearly 10 percent of the world population has been infected with the Covid-19. While in South Asian's countries like India 80 percent of reported cases are asymptomatic. 



    Critically infected patients who require not only immediate medical assistance but also continuous observation under the supervision of medical staff. These patients may develop any of the following serious illnesses which in some cases, lead the patient to death. 

  • Pneumonia or shortness of Breath
  • Abnormal heart beat due to the Myocarditis and sometime heart failure
  • Kidney Failure
  • Malfunction of Lever 
  • Blood Clotting 
  • Septic Shocks
  • Many Organ Failure
  • Affects on Reproductive System
  • Affect on Neurological System
  • Immune System Disorder


Covid-19 Complications

     Patient’s condition may deteriorate if he has any of the following illnesses: 

  • Certain heart illness like Cardiomyopathy
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease(COPD)
  • Cancer 
  • Weaken Immune System
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Chronic Kidney Disease

     Age is another factor that deteriorates the condition of the patient and makes the illness severe. It is observed that patients who are in their fifty and above are at higher risk and mortality rate among them increase as the age group of the patient goes up.  


    The only way the coronavirus-2 (SARS-COV-2) transmitted, is through the respiratory droplets. These respiratory droplets come from the infected person when he exhales, sneezes, coughs and even when he sings and shouts and sometimes when he talks loudly.  

    There are three ways when these respiratory droplets reach into the body of a healthy person and infect him: 

Contact Transmission: When a healthy person comes into contact with either the infected person or the contaminated objects like the lift's button and doors etc.  

Droplet Transmission: When a healthy person comes in close contact (less than 6 feet) with the infected person.  

Airborne Transmission: Some of the recent study conducted by the CDC claimed that Novel Coronavirus is airborne which means the virus can remain suspended in the air for many hours and can spread widely rather than earlier considered 6 feet from the infected person. 

 Prevention and Precaution 

    Although we could not stop the virus from spreading, we can prevent it by taking following precautions: 

  • Wash or sanitize our hands frequently. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hand.
  • Always maintain a minimum 6 feets distance from others.
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a mask whenever you go out. 
  • Avoid unnecessary travelling.
  • Avoid mass gathering. 

    If someone already infected he should also take the following precaution:

  • Isolate himself from others for a while even from his family members.
  • Keep all your daily usable items like towels etc. separately.
  • Avoid moving outside from the isolated place.
  • Sanitize objects that you use frequently.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask. 


    There are three tests that are widely considered to diagnose covid19. Although these tests are imperfect, yet they are best at this time when effectiveness, time and price are considered. These tests are: 

Antibody Test (Rapid Test): This test is also known as serology test. In this test blood sample of the patient is taken to find if the body makes antibodies against the covid-19. These antibodies suggest that the patient has or had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and the body is making antibodies against it but it does not tell if the patient will have antibodies against the virus in the future. The antibodies can remain in the body for months so it can’t be identified when the body is infected with the virus.  

Antigen Test: In this test a throat or nose swab is taken from the patient. Through this swab doctors check for the protein which is found on the surface of the virus. This test does not require intensive labor. There might be a possibility of false negative if the medical staff does not take swabs from deep in the nose or throat. False negative also possible if you go for a test within 2 days after infecting with the virus. It is advisable to conduct this test after 5 to 7 days of symptoms. 

RT-PCR Test: A swab from deep into the nose and throat is also required in this test to find ribonucleic acid (RNA) of SARS-CoV-2 virus. Similar to the Antigen test, there is the possibility of false negative in the same manner as it is in antigen test.  


    There is no approved medicine for covid-19 and experts are analyzing the current treatment which is given to the patient. This treatment is based on the condition of the patients and severity of the disease.  

    Patients with mild symptoms are advised to isolate themselves at home and stay away from the other people even from the family members. They are advised to take complete rest and plenty of fluids.  

    To overcome other illnesses which are associated with covid-19 like fever and sore throat, doctors give supportive treatment to get relief from them. For high temperature doctors prescribe either paracetamol or ibuprofen.   

Medicines and their effectiveness  

Remdesivir: Remdesivir is antiviral medication that was primarily developed to treat hepatitis C, Ebola and the disease related to Marburg virus but it did not show effectiveness on these diseases but throughout covid-19 outbreak when it was tested against the SARC-CoV-2, it performed well. It helps in stopping the virus from replication. According to a study conducted by New England Journal of Medicine on 1062 patients, it showed that it reduced the recovery time by 5 days and for the patients on oxygen supports reduced the recovery time by 7 days.         

Favipiravir: Favipiravir is anti-influenza medicine which was developed by Toyama Chemical and is primarily used in Japan to treat influenza.  It helps in inhibiting polymerase of RNA of the SARS-CoV-2 and reduces virus load in the lung which helps in virus transmission through direct contact.  

Dexamethasone: Dexamethasone is a steroid and widely used to treat a number of diseases like asthma, allergy and to the patients with eye pain after the eye surgery. Throughout covid-19 clinical trials, it was found that Dexamethasone helped in reducing the death rate by one-third in severely affected covid-19 patients. But if it is given to the patient with mild symptoms or too early, it could hamper the body immune system’s fighting against the virus. 

    The following medicines were gone through medical trials throughout this covid-19 crisis but did not show their effectiveness and now the use of most of them to treat covid-19 patients are abandoned. 

  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • BCG Vaccine 
  • Ivermectin
  • Oseltamivir
  • Lopinavir / Ritonavir
  • Interferon 
  • Tocilizumab
  • Zinc Tablets
  • Vitamin C & D Tablets 

Plasma Transfusion: Many countries across the globe are also using plasma transfusion therapy to treat covid-19 patients. Plasma from the patients who have generated the antibody against the SARS-CoV-2 is taken and infused in the body of the patients who are affected with the virus. Study is under way to get all its ins and outs.  

Ayurvedic Treatment: There are many claims to treat the covid-19 patients especially by the coronil from the yog teacher Baba Ramdev, but there is still need data of their study to support their claim. 

Note: Medicines and its doses are only prescribed by the doctors according to the condition of the patients. One should never rely on self-medication as it may aggravate your illness and sometimes could have side-effects. 


The whole world is working tirelessly to develop a vaccine to fight against covid-19. There are almost 200 candidates according to the WHO’s report. 156 of vaccines are in preclinical trials and around 40 are in clinical trials. The five of them are leading the race and in the most advanced stage which are mentioned below: 

  • AZD1222, by Oxford University and AstraZeneca from United Kingdom
  • mRNA-1273, by Moderna from United States of America
  • BNT162b1, by BioNTech from Germany and Pfizer from US
  • Adenovirus Type 5 Vector by CanSino Biological Inc. / Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, from China
  • CoronaVac, by Sinovac from China 

Although there are 2 vaccines which are approved, the first is Sputnik V formerly known as Gam-COVID-Vac, developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow, approved by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and the second is EpiVacCorona. Experts are concerned about efficiency of the vaccines as both the vaccines neither went through phase 3 trials nor the Russian govt. provided data of phase 1 and 2 of these vaccines. 


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