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What is Coronavirus? How worried should you be?

A mysterious new virus has surfaced in mainland China that has got the doctors both inside and outside the country thinking. Let's have a look at what is the new Coronavirus? Why is it becoming a serious issue all of a sudden? And, Who all are in danger of being affected by it.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: January 20, 2020 12:34 IST
What is Coronavirus? How worried should you be?
Image Source : MAPS4NEWS.COM

What is Coronavirus? How worried should you be?

A mysterious new virus has surfaced in mainland China that has got the doctors both inside and outside the country thinking. Normally, Coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Over the years, Coronavirus has not been considered deadly. However, a new strain of Coronavirus has emerged that has caused hundreds of new cased of pneumonia in China, amongst them are 3 deaths as well. A 45-year-old Indian woman has become the first foreigner in China to have contracted the mysterious new virus.

So far on Monday, the Chinese authorities have confirmed 2 cases of the 'new' Coronavirus in Beijing while another one in Shenzhen. This confirmation also means that the virus has spread beyond the believed epicenter, Wuhan. Several major airports in the world, including those in India, are now screening incoming travelers from China for the new Coronavirus. 

Let's have a look at what is the new Coronavirus? Why is it becoming a serious issue all of a sudden? And, Who all are in danger of being affected by it. 

What is the new Coronavirus?

As per United States of America's leading public health institute, Center for Disease Control and Prevension (CDC), Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can evolve and infect people and then spread between people such as has been seen with MERS and SARS.

Many of the patients in the outbreak in Wuhan, China have reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Some patients in the outbreak reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, suggesting that some limited person-to-person spread is occurring.

What to expect in the coming days from the new Coronavirus?

As per CDC, more cases may be identified in the coming days, including more in countries outside China, and possibly in the United States. Given what has occurred previously with MERS and SARS, it’s likely that some limited person-to-person spread will continue to occur.

What is the risk assessment of the new Coronavirus?

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical or other measures available to control the impact of the virus (for example, vaccine or treatment medications).

Chinese health authorities' external icon has reported that many patients in China visited a large seafood and animal market. They additionally report that several hundred health care workers caring for outbreak patients are being monitored and no spread of this virus from patients to health care workers has been detected. They report no sustained spread of this virus in the community, but there are indications that some limited person-to-person spread is occurring. Cases outside China have all occurred in travelers from Wuhan.

Should we be worried because of the new Coronavirus?

Prof Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham told BBC, "We should be worried about any virus that explores humans for the first time, because it's overcome the first major barrier. Once inside a cell and replicating, it can start to generate mutations that could allow it to spread more efficiently and become more dangerous. You do not want to give the virus the opportunity."

Dr Josie Golding of the Wellcome Trust said, "At the moment until we have more information it's really hard to know how worried we should be. Until we have confirmation of the source, that's always going to make us uneasy."