What I Have Learned About Coronaviruses
CORONAVIRUSES BELONG TO THE NIDOVIRALES ORDER
Human coronavirus has been around since the 1960s and historically were responsible for mild infections like the common cold. In the 1970s a coronavirus (PEDV) infected the porcine population in Europe and Asia causing an epidemic with symptoms of diarrhea (the potential for coronavirus to cause fatal enteric and respiratory infection in animals was long recognized by veterinary virologists).
NOW I UNDERSTAND WHY TOILET PAPER IS DISAPPEARING FROM THE GROCERY STORES.
In 2012, a NOVEL CORONAVIRUS, was found in the UK, which came from a man who had traveled to Saudi Arabia; he was transferred to the UK and died of acute respiratory failure. This virus was NCoV/MERS-CoV. Other novel coronaviruses include NL63, HKU1, SARS, and more. There are four groups of coronaviruses based on phylogenetic clustering. SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the current pandemic is a another new coronavirus, hence the terminology novel coronavirus.
- The infidelity of RNA-dependent RNA polymerase
- The high frequency of homologous RNA recombination
- The large genomes of coronaviruses
Genetic mutation via recombination seems to be leading to the development of new coronavirus strains, which may result in the creation of more virulent coronaviruses.
SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease. It is more transmissible than SARS-CoV (responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003).
MERS (Middle East [Arabian Peninsula] Respiratory Syndrome) has been around since 2012 (see above)-is also caused by a coronavirus (MERS-CoV). 3-4 out of every 10 patients infected with this virus has died. In 2015 there was an outbreak in Korea (a traveler returning from the Arabian Peninsula brought the virus to Korea). NO TREATMENT OR VACCINE HAS YET BEEN DEVELOPED FOR MERS. Why not? If this virus is so deadly, why has there been no vaccine or treatment developed in 8 years?
CURRENT POTENTIAL MEDICATIONS FOR TREATMENT
The most promising drug to treat COVID-19 seems to be Remdesivir (an antiviral agent being used in clinical trials to treat EBOLA). However, there is also a study going on in the state of New York for the possible use of Hydroxychloroquine/Chloroquine and Azithromycin. There is speculation that this drug combination is probably already being used in some NY hospitals. This combination of the antimalarial drug (Hydroxychloroquine) and an antibacterial drug (Azithromycin) is also currently being recommended for the very sick COVID-19 patients.