coronavirusCoronavirus has become one of the famous viruses due to coronavirus pandemic in the years 2019 to 2020. The type of coronavirus that spread globally is COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) – also called novel coronavirus 2019.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a large group of viruses that can infect mammals including humans. They can cause various medical conditions in an infected body, such as fever, cold, cough, and inflammation of bronchitis tubes in the lungs.

Coronavirus form a subfamily of viruses known as Orthocoronavirinae that is a part of a large family known as Coronaviridae. The genome (genetic material) of coronavirus is very large (around 34,000 base pairs) as compared to most RNA viruses.

Types of Coronavirus

There are various types of coronavirus but the most important types that have spread to large regions are:

  1. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) – SARS-CoV outbreak occurred in the year 2003 primarily in Asia. This is was a minor outbreak and has infected about 8,000 people worldwide. In this infection, the total death was nearly 800.
  2. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) – The first officially registered case of MERS-CoV occurred in September 2012. It was initially named as novel coronavirus 2012, but WHO later changed its name to MERS-CoV. MERS-CoV was also a minor outbreak and up to 2019, there were only 2,468 registered cases. However, its mortality rate was very high and has reached 34%. That means, out of 100 infected people, 34 people were dying due to the infection.
  3. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – There are several names given to COVID-19, some of them are 2019-nCoV and SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 is the highly spreading disease that has affected almost every nation of the world and has started from Wuhan, China. This disease is currently an ongoing pandemic so its mortality rate and cure are yet to be determined.

How COVID-19 Spread?

Official records suggest that the first cases of COVID-19 occurred in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Some researchers suggest that the virus came from the bats that were being sold at Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market at Wuhan, China.

Starting from Wuhan, the disease has spread globally causing the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic. The main cause of the spreading of the virus was close contact (e.g. handshake) among people and breathing of droplets from people who were already infected.

Diagnosis – How COVID-19 is detected?

There are various testing methods that can identify COVID-19 with good accuracy. Currently, the most widely used method for the diagnosis of the diseases is Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. PCR test is one of the standard methods by WHO for the identification of the disease.

PCR tests are developed according to the genetic sequence of the virus. Without genetic sequence information, the PCR tests can’t be prepared. Luckily, the Chinese scientists were able to isolate and study the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus. They have found the genetic sequence of the virus and have published it. The publication of the genetic sequence has allowed other nations to prepare the PCR tests on their own and identify the presence of the virus in people.

Interesting Facts

  • Packages shipped to you from China will not make you sick because the virus can’t stay there for more than a few days.
  • It is a common myth that COVID-19 was deliberately spread by a nation. The COVID-19 is believed to be a newly mutated strain of previously known coronaviruses (not developed in laboratories).
  • Common facemasks are not able to protect you from COVID-19.

Cite this Page

Abdul Wahab, "Coronavirus," in Science4Fun, July 18, 2020, https://science4fun.info/coronavirus/.