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Corona Virus

Posted on : 16 Jan 2020

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  • Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. The WHO has also just announced the first case outside China.
  • The World Health Organisation has urged countries around the world to enhance their surveillance of severe acute respiratory infections, although no travel restrictions have been advised. There is no licensed vaccine or specific treatments for the new virus.
  • The new coronavirus outbreak is linked to a market in Wuhan, which sold meat and live animals. There is no clear evidence of the virus spreading between humans, and it is thought that it originated in animals.
  • Scientists investigating the outbreak – including those from China – have reported complete virus genome sequences found in patients. The virus is not closely related to any human virus currently in circulation. So far, scientists have found evidence of the virus in 41 samples from patients with the disease.
  • The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak bears similarity to the 2002-03 epidemics of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) coronavirus (SARS-CoV). The SARS-CoV outbreak, which started in south China, lasted for over nine months.
  • Nearly 10% of those confirmed to be infected went on to die. The deadly nature of the disease, the frequent human-to-human spread, and infection of front-line clinical staff, contributed to the seriousness of the outbreak.
  • SARS-CoV was traced to several animals, including civet cats and raccoon dogs, being sold as food in markets. The infected animals had no symptoms.
  • Further investigations traced SARS-like viruses to horseshoe bats found in a cave in China. It is thought that civet cats could have picked up the infection from bats and then spread it to humans in city markets.
  • SARS has not been seen since 2003 and it is thought that the virus is now extinct. The new Wuhan coronavirus is not the SARS-CoV, but it is similar to viruses thought to be precursors of SARS in bats.

About Coronaviruses

  • Coronaviruses are so named because of the crown-like appearance of their virus particles when seen under an electron microscope (corona, meaning crown).
  • Coronaviruses are a diverse group of viruses that infect and cause disease in humans and other animals, including pigs and chickens.
  • There are seven coronaviruses known to infect people, including the novel Wuhan coronavirus and SARS-CoV already mentioned. Other human coronaviruses are those that cause the common cold like 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1 viruses, as well as the deadly zoonotic MERS virus.
  • MERS-CoV is a camel common cold virus that often jumps to humans in the Middle East. MERS-CoV can cause severe pneumonia in people and spread from person to person. MERS-CoV was only identified in 2012 and continues to be a significant problem in the Middle East.
  • Coronaviruses appear to jump easily between species, and the Wuhan virus could be the third incidence in humans in the last 20 years.
  • In 2016, another coronavirus was responsible for 24,000 pig deaths in southern China. Later named swine acute diarrhoea syndrome or SADS-CoV, it jumped from bats to pigs but did not spread to humans before it was contained.

Article Related Questions

  1. With reference to Corona Virus consider the following statements
    1.China is the only country affected with the virus so far.
    2.There is no licensed vaccine or specific treatments for the new virus.
    3.Coronaviruses appear to jump easily between species.
    Which of the following statement is/are correct?

  2. 1.1 and 2 only

    2.2 and 3 only

    3.3 only

    4.1, 2 and 3

    Right Ans : 2 and 3 only


  3. The 1857 Uprising was the culmination of the recurrent big and small local rebellions that occured in the preceding hundred years of British Rule. Elucidate (Answer in 150 words) - 2019 Mains


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