Coronavirus are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause mild to moderate or severe illness from the common cold to respiratory syndromes. They are so-called because of the crown-shaped tips on their surface (Corona means Crown) and quite common in many animal species. Adding up, they can evolve and infect humans and then spread to the population.
OMS has reported that growing evidence demonstrates the link between SARS-CoV2 and other similar viruses circulating in bats, more precisely the subspecies of Rhinolophus bats. These subspecies are abundant and widely present in southern China, Asia, Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Recent studies have indicated that over 500CoV have been identified and the transmission route to humans remains unclear. Bats are rare in Chinese markets; they are hunted and sold directly to restaurants. The most probable current hypothesis is that an intermediate animal, yet to be identified, played a role in transmission.
Human coronavirus are known to date, common all over the world, are seven, some identified several years ago (some in the early-mid-1960s) and others identified in the new millennium. The symptoms of this new pathology are: fever and flu-like symptoms such as cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties, muscle pain, fatigue are signs of possible new coronavirus infection. We have to be careful when we talk about symptoms; although it is true that we know the signs of this pathology it is also true that some people are infected but do not develop any symptoms. This eventually makes everything much more problematic.
Most confirmed cases, particularly children and young adults, appear to have a mild flu-like illness and a slow onset. About 20% seem to be progressing towards a more severe disease: pneumonia, severe acute respiratory failure, renal failure and in some cases, death. The people most at risk of contracting severe forms of this disease are the elderly and those with other conditions such as hypertension, heart problems or diabetes, and immune-suppressed patients.
Those who have travelled to the areas of interest of the virus and those who have been in contact with infected persons must be careful and stay in quarantine. Healthcare workers may also be at higher risk of contracting the disease because they come into contact with patients more often than the general population.
In understanding whether the infection has taken place or not, we must evaluate the incubation period: that is, the period of time between infection and the development of clinical symptoms. Through studies and research, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has found that its incubation spans between 2 and 12 days, up to a maximum of 14 days..This implies that the territorially competent health authorities must apply to the close contacts of a probable or confirmed case the measure of the quarantine with active surveillance, for fourteen days.
The new Coronavirus responsible for respiratory disease COVID-19 can also be transmitted from person to person with a probable or confirmed cases like saliva, cough, sneezing, direct personal contacts through hands. Usually, respiratory diseases are not transmitted with food, which in any case must be managed in compliance with good hygiene practices and avoiding contact between raw and cooked food. If you are infected, it is advisable to call your family doctor/pediatrician and take the preventive measures.
Being a new disease, there is still no vaccine and to make one ad hoc the times can also be relatively long (it is estimated 12-18 months). Since effective antiviral therapy is currently unknown, the WHO research and development area is conducting a systematic review to evaluate potential treatments and develop clinical protocols.
Currently, there are no therapies recommended by the World Health Organization for the new Coronavirus, and only supportive therapies are indicated in the patient care guidelines, such as oxygen therapy, fluid administration and practical use. Antibiotics for the treatment of any bacterial co-infections. On some patients, however, some drugs are already in use or tested for other diseases, while for others, preclinical tests have been started in view of possible use.
On February 18, the ISS reports that the Chinese clinical trial registry has announced the launch of a clinical trial with chloroquine (a proven antimalarial effective in vitro and on animal models against numerous viruses including coronavirus SARS) and lopinavir and the first results regarding the drug seem encouraging.
Being a respiratory virus that spreads mainly through the droplets of the breath of infected people, when, e.g. they sneeze or cough or blow their nose, the infection may survive a few hours on surfaces but studies are still ongoing. "It is absolutely possible that the droplets of saliva falling on some surfaces of our family environments rather than working for some time may have inside them cells that house the virus, but this mode of contagion is absolutely marginal compared to inter-human contagion; therefore, it is preferred not to introduce clothes or shoes used outdoors and keep the surfaces clean. The use of simple disinfectants is able to kill the virus by cancelling its ability to infect people, for example, disinfectants containing 75% alcohol (ethanol) or 1% chlorine-based (bleach). It is also necessary to always disinfect frequently used objects (mobile phone, earphones, microphone) with a cloth moistened with alcohol-based products or bleach.
Recent studies to find effective solutions have shown that these coronavirus are effectively deactivated by surface disinfection procedures, in about 1 minute, with ethanol at concentrations between 62-71%, with 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. Other biocidal agents such as 0.05-0.2% quaternary ammonium, or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate were less active.
Frequent contamination of surfaces in the healthcare sector, therefore, represents a potential source of viral transmission even if data on the transmissibility of coronaviruses from contaminated surfaces to the hands are not yet available. At the moment the viral load of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces is not known but, in an epidemic situation, to reduce the spread of this virus, it is essential to decrease the viral load on surfaces by disinfection, in particular of the surfaces frequently touched by patients where they can concentrate the maximum viral load.
OMS recommends ensuring that environmental cleaning and disinfection procedures are carried out consistently and correctly. Thorough cleaning of environmental surfaces with water and detergent and the use of commonly used hospital disinfectants (sodium hypochlorite) are valid and sufficient procedures. So before touching something, it's better to wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with an alcoholic gel or soap and water. Consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. In general, coronaviruses are thermolabile, which means that they are sensitive to normal cooking temperatures. Raw meat, raw milk or animal organs must be handled with care to avoid cross-contamination.
It is safe to drink tap water, in fact, purification practices are effective in killing viruses, together with environmental conditions that compromise the viability of microorganisms (temperature, sunlight, high pH levels) and the final disinfection phase.
At the moment, there is no scientific evidence that pets, such as dogs and cats, have contracted the infection or can spread it. After contact with animals, however, it is recommended to wash your hands often with soap and water, or using alcoholic solutions, For purely precautionary purposes, the United States Center for Disease Control suggests that infected people limit contact with animals, similarly to what is done with other people in the household, for example by avoiding kisses or sharing food.
Even masks help, having one is better than not having it! The masks do not guarantee absolute protection from the Coronavirus, which can also be transmitted through contact with the eyes and which can pass through common anti-smog or surgical masks.
Some types of masks, however, are more effective than others: these are PPE (personal protective equipment) FFP2 and FFP3 compliant with the EN 149 standard, with valid CE marking followed by the number of the control body that authorizes their marketing. FFP2 and FFP3 have a filtering efficiency of 92% and 98% respectively. So be careful to wear the mask correctly, without leaving spaces on the edges and covering the face up to the chin (Also, do not touch the front and back, i.e. the filter, but only the support elastic). Don t forget to wash your hands before and after wearing them.
On December 31, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission (China) reported a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown etiology to the World Health Organization in the city of Wuhan, in the Chinese province of Hubei. On January 9, 2020, the Chinese CDC reported that a new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was identified as the causative agent of respiratory disease later called Covid-19. China immediately made public the genomic sequence that allowed a diagnostic test to be carried out in a timely manner.
On January 30, OMS declared the Coronavirus epidemic in China. International public health emergency. The WHO raised the threat to the coronavirus epidemic to the world level "very high" on February 28, 2020. In March 11 2020, OMS Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the spread of Covid-19 no longer an epidemic confined to some geographical regions, but a pandemic spread all over the planet.
On March 13, OMS stated that Europe is becoming the new epicentre of the pandemic. The number of Covid-19 cases reported in the EU and the United Kingdom has increased very rapidly in several countries in the past ten days, reflecting the trends observed in China between January-early February and Northern Italy in late February.
The risk associated with COVID-19 infection for people in Europe is currently considered moderate for the general population, but high for the elderly and individuals with chronic diseases. The Covid-19 transmission in healthcare facilities is high, in the absence of early diagnosis and highly effective infection control.
It is only recently that this virus appeared from a precise point in the world, and now he is in the whole world and is changing our lives, our daily life even without our direct contact is one of those times that we all feel close without any distinction in a virtual embrace and wait for everything to come back as before and for virtual to come back real. The world is coming together in a single fear with the hope that everything will return a bit as before maybe more fraternal first and wiser than before.
The progress of science and technology has accustomed us to live thinking about the future, but at this moment as individuals and as a community, we are suspended in the present time. Because no artificial intelligence predictive algorithm will be able to tell us how the spread of Coronavirus will evolve.
In the initial phase of the spread of an epidemic, when there is still insufficient data, researchers rely on mathematical methods that can predict how the situation will develop for infected people and how likely they are to transmit the virus, according to current estimates, each infected person can infect at least two people, who in turn infect as many people.
But, there are two other unknown elements that increase the complexity of the study of the phenomenon: the lack of symptoms or their presence in a mild form. What we do not know about this epidemic is how many people contract the disease without symptoms or with signs so modest as to do not contact a healthcare facility. And this makes any future forecast indefinite. The difficulty of making predictions, therefore, is due to the lack of sufficient information, typical of a new virus.
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