The last three months have witnessed the alarming rise of a microscopic virus that has turned into a global pandemic. It has infected thousands across the world, while 4,500 patients have been reported dead. Indeed, there is immense cause for concern as we see coronavirus turning into an enormous epidemic that is impacting every continent, country and region across the globe.
The news surrounding COVID-19, more popular known as the coronavirus, is worrisome and stressful. People are finding it hard not to panic in times of such chaos and uncertainty. However, a Spanish scientist and researcher has put forward some interesting facts that give us hope and reassurance. Today, medical science has made great strides towards advancement, and the world is better equipped to fight off viruses and contain the disease to prevent it from spreading.
Ignacio López-Goñi, a Spanish academic in microbiology and virology at the University of Navarra, has highlighted 10 facts that offer reassurance and insight to understand COVID-19. These observations encourage us to be hopeful instead of being consumed by fear.
Here, take a look at 10 reasons why there’s no need to panic:
1. There is Greater Awareness
Plagues and pandemics have plagued the world since the beginning of time. Be it the “sweating sickness” from Tudor England, or the treacherous Spanish flu that killed millions across the world. In 2020, the global community has made significant strides in public and private healthcare practices.
Detecting diseases and identifying their causes has always been a greater dilemma for scientific research. For instance, the first few cases of AIDS were detected in 1981, but it took scientists an additional two years to identify the HIV virus that had caused the disease.
In the case of COVID-19, there is greater awareness and a stronger understanding. The first cases emerged in China on 31st December, 2019, with symptoms of severe pneumonia. On 7th January, 2020, scientists had detected the coronavirus, and within 10 days, its genome was available.
Scientists and researchers have deduced that coronavirus hails from the same family as SARS, also known as SARSCoV2, which belongs to group 2B. Experts believe that it is associated to coronavirus from bats.
A series of genetic analyses reveals that coronavirus has recently originated, while the exact timeline is placed between the end of November and early December. Even though all viruses thrive and flourish through mutation, coronavirus may not have a significantly high mutation rate.
2. There are superior detection tools
Scientists have identified tools and procedures to detect the coronavirus. A test to identify the virus was made available on 13th January, 2020.
3. China is making progress
China has made great strides in the battle against the coronavirus. The country has won immense acclaim for its effective isolation measures to control the disease. For multiple weeks, observations have revealed a steady reduction in the number of cases diagnosed with the virus.
4. Majority of the patients have mild symptoms
It is important to understand that majority of the patients diagnosed with coronavirus have suffered from mild symptoms, and in some cases, no symptoms at all. However, in 14% of the patients, it can lead to severe symptoms of pneumonia.
Moreover, in 5% of the patients, the symptoms can get more critical and lead to death. However, the exact death rate of the virus remains unclear, but experts suspect that it is likely to be lesser than the estimates.
5. Recovery treatments have proven effective
It is important to note that while coronavirus has infected hundreds and thousands of people across the world, many of the patients are recovering. Majority of the broadcasted estimates and data reveals increases in the number of deaths and confirmed cases.
However, it is also important to examine the statistics for infected patients who have fully recovered. Experts highlight that there are 13 times greater recovered patients than deaths, and the number of recovered patients is rapidly increasing.
6. Children tend to experience milder symptoms
Research has revealed that children infected by the virus tend to experience milder symptoms that can barely be detected. Only 3% of the cases have been reported from patients less than 20 years of age, while the mortality for under 40 patients is merely 0.2%. The symptoms are harmless and in most cases, they are likely to go undetected.
7. Coronavirus can be completely eliminated from the surface
There are several solutions and cleaning products that can help you ensure that the virus is wiped clean. For instance, you can inactivate it from the surface by using a solution of ethanol, hydrogen peroxide or sodium hypochlorite.
Within one minute, the solution will eliminate the virus entirely. Also, be sure to develop a habit of frequently washing your hands with water and soap. It is the most effective and simplest way of preventing contagion.
8. Scientists are supplementing efforts all over the world
Coronavirus has become a global subject of scientific research, and scientists across the world are working to develop treatments, testing kids, and cures. We live in a glorious age of global scientific cooperation, and within a month, over 160 research articles emerged on the origins and symptoms of COVID19. These articles and researches are preliminary discourses on possible treatments, genetics, diagnosis, clinical aspects and treatments, phylogeny and epidemiology.
More than 700 research experts and scientists have penned down these articles, which have been disseminated across the world to spread awareness. In the case of the SARS epidemic that occurred in 2003, the academic and scientific community took more than year to present their preliminary findings. Moreover, majority of the scientific journals have increased accessibility in order to promote awareness on coronavirus.
9. Vaccine prototypes are already being made
In 2020, the scientific community and pharmaceuticals have made profound advancement, which has equipped the world with a greater efficiency and speed of designing new vaccines. Presently, there are over eight different projects seeking to design a powerful vaccine to curb the coronavirus. There are multiple groups of scientists that work to design vaccinations against such viruses.
For instance, a vaccine group from Australia’s University of Queensland has already announced its progress on a vaccine that is powered by a novel technology using the “molecular clamp” technique. Reports reveal that vaccine prototypes will soon be made available for human trials.
10. Antiviral trials are also ongoing
Vaccines are designed to prevent illnesses and infections. However, presently, the global community is challenged with a battle to treat patients who are already sick and suffering from the virus. Reports reveal that there are over 80 different clinical trials to examine various treatments and procedures to cure coronavirus patients.
These antivirals trials involve medications and treatments that have been approved and declared safe for treating several other infections. Remdesivir, a far-ranging antiviral that is still being studied has been tested on humans in fighting off the symptoms of SARS/MERS and Ebola.
Chloroquine is another prominent treatment. It is an antimalarial that has revealed itself to be a powerful antiviral treatment. Research reveals that chloroquine serves the purpose of blocking out viral infection by raising the pH levels of the endosome, which is required for the fusion of the cell and the virus.
This is why it aids in blocking the entry of the virus. Chloroquine has been administered to coronavirus patients, and it aids in blocking the virus in vitro. It is being administered to patients suffering from coronavirus-induced pneumonia.
Oseltamivir, which is incorporated in the treatment for the influenza virus, has also been a subject of prominent antiviral trials, alongside interferon-1B, which is an antiviral protein. Researchers have proposed new therapies selected through artificial intelligence and armed with inhibitory compounds, such as baricitinibine.
As we examine all these facts and figures, we realize that there is no need to panic, but instead, we must arm ourselves with information. The 1918 flu pandemic caused over 25 million deaths across the world within less than 25 weeks. It is highly unlikely for the coronavirus pandemic to cause such devastation. In 2020, the global community is fully prepared to fight this pandemic with superior healthcare innovations and advanced technologies.
Sources: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html More than 80 clinical trials launch to test coronavirus treatments https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00444-3 Diagnostic detection of Wuhan coronavirus 2019 by real-time RTPCR https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/wuhan-virus-assay- v1991527e5122341d99287a1b17c111902.pdf Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro https://www.nature.com/articles/s41422-020-0282-0 Baricitinib as potential treatment for 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30304-4/fulltext