The new coronavirus is a hype topic around which panic is being fueled. Not all of the news about Wuhan Syndrome is true. Angle has collected the main myths, as well as new facts about the Chinese stranger – 2019-Nov.
Is the Chinese coronavirus a cause for panic?
We are afraid of all the unknown. However, similar outbreaks caused by coronaviruses have already occurred. This is the third coronavirus outbreak in 20 years. The outbreak of SARS, later called “severe respiratory syndrome” (SARS), and MERS were also caused by coronaviruses. The SARS outbreak occurred in China in 2002-2003 (about 8 thousand people fell ill, 10% of them died, the source of infection was civets – animals similar to cats. The MERS outbreak occurred in 2012, mainly in Saudi Arabia – about 2, 5 thousand cases of diseases, with a rather high mortality rate, reaching 35%, the source is camels).
The current Chinese coronavirus 2019-Nov can cause pneumonia, but this does not happen in everyone affected. In many, it causes an acute respiratory illness involving the upper respiratory tract. And only a few have pneumonia, sometimes severe. It is reported that the majority of those killed from Wuhan Syndrome had other health problems, which significantly reduced the patients’ chances of surviving. The media, as a rule, provide statistics on sick and dead, often forgetting about those who have recovered. As of today, 63 people have already been discharged from hospitals – and this is good news.
Severe damage to the lungs can be caused not only by the coronavirus but ut also, for example, the flu. In Ukraine, there is much more chance of contracting the flu than catching an exotic virus (since the beginning of 2020, 11 people have died from the flu in our country). You can protect yourself from complications of the flu with a vaccine. By the way, it is not too late to vaccinate now.
Why coronaviruses mutate and are partial to China
Coronaviruses are a fairly large family of viruses with about 40 species. They got their name because of the membrane-covered with thorns that resemble a crown. Coronaviruses live in many animals – they infect rabbits, cats, dogs, birds, cattle. Coronaviruses are RNA viruses, that is, their genetic information is packed not in the usual DNA, but a simpler RNA molecule. This simplifies mutations since the number of errors during the reproduction of these viruses is greater.
Scientists claim that China is an ideal environment for the emergence of zoonoses (infections that appear in animals, then transmitted to humans). There have been outbreaks of a considerable number of infections, for example, bird flu, SARS. The key factor is that the Chinese are almost omnivorous, and various animals, such as bats, are used in Chinese medicine. Another important nuance is the country’s dense population.
What has led to the current outbreak?
The unfortunate coincidence of circumstances. “All these viruses constantly persist in our environment, but sometimes something goes wrong: at some point, several factors come together,” explains microbiologist, candidate of biological sciences Elena Livinskaya. – In the process of reproducing the virus in the body of animals, its variation arises, which makes it possible to infect a person. The factor of the consumption of animals that are potential carriers of the virus plays a key role. In this regard, the gastronomic preferences of the residents of the region where the outbreak began have cost them dearly.
Another factor is the vulnerability of certain groups of people, a decrease in the body’s defenses, age, the presence of concomitant diseases, and general exhaustion.
According to Elena Livinskaya, environmental factors also contribute to the situation: population density and climatic conditions (for example, the temperature in the region in southeast China is now +2 10, which can perfectly contribute to the survival of the virus in the environment and susceptibility to it person).
Medicine for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus
The answer to this question is sought not only by scientists but also by Ukrainians frightened by the new coronavirus. “Mix fern color tincture in equal proportions with snowdrop honey, take it on an empty stomach” – there are also such answers to this frequent question in social networks.
Humor aside, you shouldn’t carry your hard-earned money to pharmacies, because there is no specific treatment for the Chinese coronavirus yet. Doctors warn: various drugs that position themselves as antivirals are not recommended due to possible side effects that increase the risk of complications.
So far, all the drugs that doctors have tried to use for the 2019-novel coronavirus have not shown the desired effect. Therefore, the treatment is symptomatic. By the way, measles is treated in the same way – there is no specific therapy, and to reduce the chances of getting sick, there is a vaccine.
Scientists are not sitting idly by. Research is being conducted with monoclonal antibodies (capable of binding and neutralizing various antigens, in particular, viruses). The use of the antiviral drug Remdisivir, created during the Ebola outbreak, is being discussed. The vaccine is being developed in parallel in China and the United States. Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (USA) created a vaccine a few hours after receiving complete decoding of the genome of the new coronavirus. At the moment, tests are planned on animals, after positive results (tentatively called summer) – on humans. The creation of a vaccine is a rather long process. Advertisements for the sale of a “vaccine” against the Chinese coronavirus have appeared on the Internet. The Ministry of Health warns that this is a fake.
China is silent about the real extent of the problem
China is a totalitarian communist state in which anything is possible. Such a precedent was already in 2002-2003 during the SARS outbreak. Then the Chinese authorities kept silent about the real state of affairs. When everything was revealed, the Minister of Health was dismissed. This time the international community is involved in the problem, scientists from all over the world go to China – it is almost impossible to hide anything. And globally, it is not so much the scale of the outbreak that is important, but the mortality and transmission routes of the virus. So far, the 2019-nCov mortality rate is lower than that of its close relative, SARS.
Horror stories about parcels from China and infected bananas
The survival of viruses in the environment depends on many factors – the nature of the virus itself, temperature and humidity, surface, etc. The new coronavirus has appeared recently, so there is no such data on the virus yet.
Epidemiologists and doctors in different countries say the same thing: the probability that the virus can exist outside the mammalian body for more than two days is practically reduced to zero. It also takes a certain amount of the virus to get sick. Through household items that have been traveling for several weeks, this is unrealistic.
“It would be fair to focus on survival on his“ relatives ”- for example, SARS,” explains microbiologist Elena Livinskaya. – As reported by the WHO in 2003, SARS survives for up to 48 hours on a dry plastic surface and up to four days in the feces of patients with diarrhea. For comparison, the influenza virus lives on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours, on a napkin – 15 minutes. In a 2012 scientific publication, they write that 20% of infectious SARS-CoV viral particles were still at 20 degrees Celsius after six days with a complete loss of infectivity after nine days. Lowering the temperature to 4-6 degrees promotes better survival. However, the infectivity persisted much longer (several weeks) in the liquid ”.
According to the scientist, based on the above data, if the shipment takes several weeks and does not contain liquid, where sick workers could potentially cough, do not worry.
Messengers and social networks also spread fake information about bananas infected with the coronavirus. The banana fake has spread across many countries. In Kazakhstan, the vice minister of health even had to refute this information at a briefing. There is no official confirmation or mention that the coronavirus is transmitted through bananas. Coronavirus is transmitted from animal to person and from person to person.
If you’re worried about eating bananas and other fruits, just wash them well. After receiving the packages, wash your hands well with soap and water. And in general, washing your hands is the very first and standard means of preventing any viral infection.
What should Ukrainians do with the new coronavirus?
Most importantly, try to stay calm. Increased anxiety is not conducive to good health. A person who sleeps a little gets nervous a lot, eats inadequately, has more chances to catch any infectious disease. Get enough sleep, walk in the fresh air, be physically active. Wash your hands thoroughly and postpone your trip to China.
Fever and coughing are caused by a variety of pathogens – not just the Chinese coronavirus. If you have these symptoms, you should see a doctor. But not because of the terrible news, but because of respect for their health