Written by: Dr. Madiha Rehman DVM, M.Phil (Veterinary Parasitology), Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan Pakistan's Seafood Industry [caption id="attachment_182" align="alignright" width="212"] Fish industry[/caption] Pakistan is enriched with agricultural land and a vast area covered with waters providing a diverse flora and fauna to harbour a large variety of l...
CORONA VIRUS: HISTORY AND UPDATES
Viruses of the Coronaviridae family are one of the major causes of respiratory illness in mammals and birds. These viruses have different shapes and sizes. The archives show that the human came to know about the human coronaviruses in 1965 when Tyrrell and Bynoe from Medical Research Council of United Kingdom, isolated first human coronavirus i.e., B814 from the respiratory tract of an adult man. However, the illness was limited to mild cold and cough. Later times, Almeida and Tyrrell performed electron microscopy and discovered various facts about the coronaviruses. These viruses were medium-sized and had club-shaped projections on their surface. Due to the presence of these projections (corona means crown-like projections), these viruses were kept in a separate group and were names as coronaviruses. Various other experimental strains have been reported in the scientific literature. Among these experimental coronaviruses, OC43 and 229E are prominent ones on which multiple pieces of research were conducted for about three decades. Nowadays, there are four common strains of coronaviruses that cause illness in human including 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKu1. However, other strains are also of human interest which are Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), MERS-Cov and recently reported 2019-Noval coronavirus. These viruses caused severe losses to the human. Various fatal outbreaks in the past were reported to be caused by these coronaviruses. The first outbreak was of SARS during the year 2002 to 2003 in China and spread at the global level. It was spread to almost 29 countries. MERS-Cov outbreak was recorded in Saudia Arabia in 2012. These coronaviruses cause multiple diseases in human, animals and birds such as infectious bronchitis in chicken, hepatitis in mouse and gastroenteritis in pigs. Research using serological techniques led to important information about the epidemiology of human respiratory coronaviruses. According to an estimate, coronaviruses accounts for more than 35% of total respiratory infections in human.
The coronavirus can spread via human to human contact. The respiratory droplets of an affected person can transmit the virus into the lungs of a healthy one. Scientist believes that the transmission of today’s coronavirus i.e 2019-Cov virus is more or less similar to that of influenza virus. The contagious pattern of this viral transmission is likely to be observed in coronaviruses. Touching an infected object can also serve as a transmitting agent. In short, coughing, sneezing, handshaking and touching are the major actions that can provoke the spread of coronavirus. However, in rare cases, faecal contamination has also been reported as a source of spread.
Signs and symptoms
Patients suffered from illness caused by coronavirus may exhibit fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat and uncomfortable breathing. These signs and symptoms may appear two to 14 days after the encounter with the virus. According to the latest information, a researcher with name Xinhua in China reported that the emerging Wuhan coronavirus (2019-Cov) can cause digestive disorder too. Additionally, pneumonia can be seen in the patient suffering from a 2019-Cov virus.
The recent outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China
The current outbreak of the 2019-Cov virus is frightening the world with a much higher death toll and a rapid spreading rate because this virus has shown its zoonotic importance for human as well as animals. Human death toll rises to 314 only in China. The Philippines has also shared one death. In other countries, no death has been reported but notable numbers of affected persons are being claimed. There are more than 20,000 suspected cases of coronavirus illness in China.
The patient affected by this 2019-Cov coronavirus show influenza-like symptoms including cough, fever and uncomfortable breathing. Almost all the countries have closed their air routes to and from China to control the spread of disease. It has been called time for a global emergency. Michigan State in the United State of America has called for swine coronavirus reporting to prepare a strategy for protecting the human-animal transfer of coronavirus.
The spread of false information is also trending in different countries. Such as in the Middle East, people were conveyed through social media to wash their Dates that were carried by bats. The bats were reported as infected with the coronavirus. However, this news has been called fake by the Ministry of Health and Middle East doctors.
Treatment and prevention
There is no specific treatment for the illness caused by a coronavirus. However, it can be prevented by adopting some good habits. It is highly recommended to wash your hands with suitable antiseptic or soap for more than 20 seconds. Also, it is of good value to not touch your eyes, mouth and nose if your hands are not clean. Additionally, you should stay away from affected people and if you are the affected one then stay at home. Using mask when going outside can prevent the extension in the spreading of the virus. During sneezing, wrap your nose with a tissue paper and discard that tissue properly in the trash.
Recent updates in treating fatal coronavirus 2019-Cov
Doctors in China were treating the coronavirus patients with medicines of flue and HIV but the other medical professionals were reluctant to use this strategy. According to new information, doctors from Thailand got some success in treating the severe cases of coronavirus infection in human. They executed a blend of medicines used for HIV and flue to the patients and observed some recovery from the disease within 48 hours. But, the doctors also stressed that this is not a complete cure for coronavirus infection and there is much space to research in this spectrum.
Responsibilities of the veterinary community
• Veterinary authorities should collect information from health authorities and those in wildlife
• Appropriate risk assessment for any outbreak of coronavirus in their country.
• Effective biosecurity measures
• Cooperation with inspection authorities at border areas.