Emerging pandemic COVID-19: myths and facts
Keywords:Pandemic, SARS CoV-2, COVID-19, Coronavirus, nCoV
The first theory which has established itself across the world is that COVID-19 is a “new virus”. It is rather wise to call it a “new strain” of a pre-existing coronavirus since history clearly denotes cases of coronavirus surfacing the world in past years beginning as early as mid-1960s.Including this novel strain of the virus, seven strains of coronaviruses have been commonly associated with human infections. Coronaviruses are primarily respiratory viruses causing infections ranging from mild to severe involvement of the respiratory tract. The common cold strains of coronavirus are 229E alpha coronavirus, NL63 alpha coronavirus, OC43 beta coronavirus and HKU1 beta coronavirus.The acute respiratory distress causing strains are severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) beta CoV causing SARS, MERS beta CoV causing Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and the very novel COVID-19. Researchers and molecular biologists have confirmed phylogenetic relationship of COVID-19 with a 2015 Chinese bat strain of SARS CoV. Mutations to the surface protein as well as nucleocapsid proteins were demonstrated. These two mutations predicts the characteristics such as higher ability to infect as well as enhanced pathogenicity of COVID-19 as compared to older SARS strain. For this reason and with similarities in clinical presentation the novel strain has been named as SARS-CoV-2.
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