|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV): What do we know so far?
Ibrahim A Taher, Amany A Ghazy
Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Jouf University, Sakakah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
|Date of Submission||04-Feb-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||08-Feb-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||12-Mar-2020|
Prof. Ibrahim A Taher
Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Jouf University, Sakakah
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Taher IA, Ghazy AA. A novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV): What do we know so far?. Libyan J Med Sci 2020;4:1-2
Coronaviruses are made of a family that are known to cause a series of respiratory illnesses such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). Over the two decades, those two coronaviruses had crossed species to infect human populations, leading to outbreak of SARS in 2002 and MERS-CoV in 2012. The most recent novel coronavirus is officially named as 2019-nCoV identified few months ago in Wuhan, China. The virus was found to affect persons in contact with seafood or wet market., This emergence has led to a worldwide public health concern, being set to a very high alert.
By the end of December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases were reported from China among individuals in contact with the Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan and Hubei Province. Later, the Chinese health authorities have confirmed the cause directed to the novel coronavirus, 2019-nCoV., The World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of the outbreak by the Chinese heath authorities, and the sequence information of the causative agent was shard with the international community. The WHO responded rapidly by continuous monitoring of developments, coordinating diagnostics, and screening methodologies, giving guidance and recommendations on patient monitoring, collection of specimens, and treatment and providing the latest information on the outbreak globally., In the latest development, the WHO Emergency Committee has confirmed that this 20190-nCoV outbreak meets the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The virus struck hard, leading to over 10,000 confirmed cases with 361 deaths in China alone since the beginning of the outbreak and the virus has subsequently spread around the world reaching more than 20 countries. By the end of the 1st week of February 2020, over 31,481 confirmed cases were reported worldwide, including around 270 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV infection in 24 other countries including Japan, South-Korea, the United States, Germany, United Arab Emirates, and others,,,, with 637 deaths in China and one death being reported outside of China.
The sharing of the full genetic sequence of 2019-nCoV between Chinese researchers and others,,, can lead to the expedition of the development of sensitive assays helping in the rapid detection of infection in humans, possible zoonotic sources, and will guide the development of experimental animal models, therapies, and vaccines.
Scientists believe that bats could be the primary source for 2019-nCoV. Other, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV are known to be transmitted to humans through exotic animals and camels, respectively. The ancestral hosts of both these cases are probably bats. However, it is not clear yet if the new 2019-nCoV is directly transmitted from bats or an intermediate hosts may play a role.
In view of the epidemiological information regarding 2019-nCoV infection, it indicates that human-to-human transmission occurs through droplets and/or contact. Rothe et al. have reported that transmission of 2019-nCoV can occur during incubation period from asymptomatic persons. Moreover, convalescent patients were reported to have high levels of sputum viral load which may predict a prolonged shedding of 2019-nCoV even after recovery. However, a viral culture assay is necessary to demonstrate the viability of the detected virus using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
The current researches estimate the viral incubation period to range between 2 and 14 days. Understanding the time when infected patients may transmit the virus to others (infectious period of 2019-nCoV) is critical for control efforts, in particular whether transmission can occur from asymptomatic individuals or during the incubation period.
SARS-CoV outbreaks were contained eventually by means of syndromic surveillance, isolation of patients, and quarantine procedures. Thus, applying the basic principles of infection control measures, such as avoiding direct contact with suffers from acute respiratory infections, regular hand-washing, avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals, and practicing cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands), can ultimately lead to reducing the risk of transmission of respiratory infections.
Finally, many details of this emerged virus still need to be determined, such as its origin, its zoonotic transmission patterns, degree to which the virus is mutating, risk factors, extent of interhuman transmission, clinical spectrum of the diseases, and availability of developing vaccines to those at high risk.
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