What is coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a new infectious disease caused by a coronavirus discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. It can cause illness in people as well as animals, including camels, cats, and bats.
Common signs of Coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
President Nirmal Kumar, president of ENT UK, said that a loss of sense and smell could also be COVID-19 symptoms.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Moreover, avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. It is also being advised that smartphones should be disinfected every 90 minutes.
Testing for COVID-19 and coronavirus treatment
Most people infected with coronaviruses are likely to either have no symptoms at all or have mild ones, requiring no treatment. Currently, there is no evidence from studies to recommend any specific treatment for COVID-2019 and, as it is a virus, antibiotics will not work.
In rare and severe cases of COVID-2019, treatment includes admission to hospital and care that’s focused on supporting the person through the illness, whilst their immune system works to clear it. The case definitions are being regularly reviewed and updated as new information becomes available.