What is Coronavirus and its history?

Coronavirus spreads in more than 200 countries and territories across the world and is declared a pandemic by the WHO in March 2020. What is coronavirus and its history? Let us find out!
Created On: Apr 13, 2020 13:38 IST
Modified On: Apr 13, 2020 13:40 IST
What is Coronavirus?
What is Coronavirus?

The first case of novel coronavirus was identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The WHO and other organisations named the new illness caused due to coronavirus as COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019).

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi asked people to remain calm and advised to take some small yet important measures as self-protection from the coronavirus.


According to All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) the infection is spread through respiratory route i.e. respiratory droplets and direct human contact. Healthcare personnel (HCP) are at risk of infection through respiratory routes and direct contact with infectious patients. To prevent infection some standard recommendations include standard precautions, contact precautions and respiratory precautions. 

According to the World Health Organisation, the role of environmental contamination in the transmission of COVID-19 is not yet clear. A new protocol was published on 18 February, 2020 entitled "Surface sampling of coronavirus disease (COVID-19): A practical "how to" protocol for health care and public health professionals".

Health experts suggested people should use masks and wash their hands. Novel coronavirus displayed several other symptoms according to China's National Health Commission including breathing difficulty, chest tightness, and coughing. It is also said that the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra may be the source of deadly coronavirus. The disease continues to spread in Asia and across the world. Not only this, Coronavirus can also spread between people which raised the possibility of increased transmissions.

According to Zhong Nanshan, the head of the team set up by China's National Health Commission told that coronavirus can spread from person to person. Now, Coronavirus spreads across the globe. As we know that a novel (new) coronavirus is said to have originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and further cases have been exported to Thailand, Japan, etc. According to Chinese authorities, patients were suffering from fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and pneumonia. 

It is said that coronavirus belongs to the same family as the SARS virus. The coronavirus disease is connected to a seafood market in China. Before going into detail about coronavirus (COVID-19), first, we will see from where and how the case of coronavirus is detected and its history?

Coronavirus Timeline: A series of events as they happen

novel coronavirus

According to WHO, a Chinese national travelling in Thailand was the first confirmed case of coronavirus infection outside China on 13 January 2020.

The statement was given by WHO is" The possibility of cases being identified in other countries was not unexpected, and reinforces why WHO calls for ongoing active monitoring and preparedness in other countries”.

The full genome of the new virus has been posted by the Chinese authorities and it has been named as 'novel coronavirus 2019' (nCoV-2019) according to the CDC situation summary.

Note: CDC is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a new coronavirus in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

What is the Ebola Virus?

It is also said that the disease is linked to a large seafood and animal market that is animal-to-person spread. Some patients even had no exposure to the animal market, therefore it is suggested that some limited person-to-person spread may be occurring. Investigations are going on.

Now, let us study about coronavirus (COVID-19).

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are of the family of Nidovirus. They are various types of viruses that affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. Some of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 are the common cold, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut.

Coronavirus can cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Some detailed investigations show that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.

In the mid-1960s, human coronaviruses were first identified. Seven coronaviruses that can infect people are:

Common human coronaviruses are: 
- 229E (alpha coronavirus)
- NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
- HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness like a common cold.

Other human coronaviruses are:
- MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)
- SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)
- SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19)

Coronaviruses sometimes can infect animals that can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus as seen above examples.

So, we can say that in total there are seven coronaviruses that can infect people.

Common symptoms of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are:

- Fever

- Tiredness

- Dry cough

Other Symptoms are:

- Runny Nose

- Dry Cough

- Sore Throat

- Sneezing

- Exacerbated asthma

- Difficulty in breathing

- Aches and Pain

Sometimes people also report diarrhoea, pneumonia, bronchitis. It is common in people who have a weak immune system, in infants, older adults, etc.

Encephalitis (Chamki Fever): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV cause severe symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breathing which results in pneumonia. Severe cases may cause kidney failure and even death.

History of patients suffering from MERS-CoV

First Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The first American case was hospitalised in April 2014 and another in Florida. Both returned from Saudi Arabia. In Korea, the MERS outbreak in May 2015 was the largest outbreak outside the Arabian Peninsula. MERS symptoms may include fever, breathlessness, and coughing.

About SARS-CoV

In 2003, people also died from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Let us tell you that in the 1960s, the first case of human coronavirus was identified but from where it came nobody knows. SARS is a life-threatening form of pneumonia. It can also cause gastroenteritis and can infect both the upper and lower respiratory tract.

Symptoms of SARS may include dry coughing, chills, diarrhoea, breathlessness and aches, severe lung infection and in the most advanced stages, SARS may cause the failure of the lungs, heart or liver.

From where coronavirus got its name?

Due to their crown-like projections on the surfaces coronaviruses got their name. The virus resembles like a crown when viewed under an electron microscope. "Corona” in Latin means "halo" or "crown".

Treatment or how to prevent an infection

- Regular hand washing

- During coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose.

- Properly cooked meat and eggs.

- Avoid contact from the person showing symptoms of respiratory illness.

Therefore, we can say that there is no proper cure and treatments including taking care of yourself and over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

- Do proper rest and avoid overexertion.

- Drink enough water.

- Avoid smoking and smoky areas.

- Take medicine to reduce pain and fever.

- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporiser.

Standard Precautions include basic hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment, respiratory etiquettes, and environmental disinfection. 

How coronavirus disease spread?

- While coughing and sneezing, an infection spread into the air and spread the virus.

- While touching or shaking hands with an infected person can also pass the virus.

- Making in contact with a surface or object that has a virus and while touching nose, eyes or mouth.

- Rarely, coronavirus may spread through contact with feces.

Do you know how long does the Coronavirus survive over the surfaces or objects?

- It is not certain how long the virus of COVID-19 survives on surfaces.

- Some studies reveal including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus may persist on surfaces for hours or up to several days. 

- This may vary under different conditions like the type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment.

- It is necessary to clean the surface or disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.

- Clean your hands with soap and water and with an alcohol-based hand rub.

- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Therefore, we can say that coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases.

Source: WHO, cdc.gov

Coronavirus Helpline India: List of Official Phone Numbers




Comment ()

Related Categories

Post Comment

3 + 9 =