With the outbreak of novel coronavirus, the world seems to have come to a standstill with countries announcing indefinite lockdowns, thus preventing people from moving around. The serious outbreak does raise the question as to how such pathogens have evolved over time. Also is asked what actually makes the infections severe or mild. The 2019-nCoV that is considered to be the cause for this outbreak has compelled the WHO to declare international public emergency on health and has been named after the virus family, it belongs to. Many are unfamiliar with this term. However, a good number have already encountered it, but in mild forms, where 4 strains tend to cause approximately 5th of common cold. There are other types which cause diseases such as endemic noticed in specific animal species. However, until a couple of decades ago, illness varieties contracted by humans were mild such that coronavirus research had been termed to something of backwater.
Emergence of the new version
This all were found to be changed in 2003 as the pathogen that caused SARS outbreak in China. It is determined to be coronavirus, shocking everyone in the field. This virus group got sudden attention of the scientists, who are of the strong belief that the outbreak started with animals, likely from cats to humans, thus resulting in a disease referred to as zoonosis. In 2012, the propensity of the virus got underlined, as humans contracted the virus from camels, causing MERS. The death toll was about 858 till date and Saudi Arabia was the affected region, representing around 34% of the infected.
It is stated that MERS, SARS & new coronavirus got originated from bats. Analyzing the genome of 2019-nCoV, it was found that 96% of RNA having coronavirus was identified previously in China in particular bat species. Such viruses were prevalent among bats for quite a long time, but without actually sickening them. The current outbreak was caused at Wuhan, China suggesting involvement of some intermediate host species. For such outbreaks, situations are found to have become a common feature. The hosts might have the capability to enhance genetic diversity of the viruses by facilitating several mutations. Scientists have been trying to find COVID-19 antigens to cure those infected.
What exactly is Coronavirus?
How infectious is this virus? What determines how, when and whether it jumps to jumps to humans? What is the difference that relates between cases of deadly disease and sniffles? With the first emergence of such viruses, there was experienced severe threat to global health. Governments have asked their scientist community and vaccine manufacturers to develop Recombinant Coronavirus antigens for treatment purpose. For details check out https://www.genemedi.net/!
Coronavirus & its anatomy
Experts state that Coronaviruses are single stranded, enveloped RNA viruses. It means that genome comprise of RNA strand instead of DNA. Each viral particle can be noticed to be wrapped within a protein ‘envelop’. Basically, the function of viruses is all the same, which is to invade the cell, co-opt few components so as to replicate itself and infect other cells. Typically, RNA replication lacks error correction mechanisms which are otherwise employed by cells while replicating DNA. Hence, mistakes are committed by RNA viruses during the replication process. For any RNA virus, the longest genomes are held by coronaviruses with 30,000 bases or letters. Hence, with the pathogen copies having more material, there is more opportunity to commit mistakes. The problem is that such viruses are found to mutate swiftly, with few even conferring to new properties like infecting new species or cell types.
There are 4 structural proteins in the coronavirus particle, namely the spike, membrane, envelope and nucleocapsid. The latter is the genetic core that is encapsulated within a ball that is created by membrane proteins and envelope. Spike protein becomes club shaped protrusions which stick out over the ball, thus resembling sun’s corona or the crown, thereby deriving the name. Such protrusions get binded on host cells to receptors, thereby determining cell type, species range, which virus may infect. Scientists have managed to come up with Coronavirus Protein for treatment purpose.
Know the difference
Difference that is noticed between coronaviruses causing severe illness and cold is that upper respiratory tract namely the throat and the nose are affected by the latter, while the former flourishes in the lungs (lower respiratory tract, thus causing pneumonia.
SARS virus tends to bind itself to ACE2, a receptor, while MERS binds itself to DPP4. They are both located in the lung cells. In such receptors, difference in distribution in organs and tissues account for differences noticed between both the diseases. Here, MERS is found to be much deadlier when compared to SARS, featuring prominent gastrointestinal symptoms. With Recombinant 2019 nCoV, the scientists are trying to combat the virus. Knowing the cause of infection can help doctors to provide better treatment to infected patients.