Corona viruses are types of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. They are associated with the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut.
First discovered year 1937 in birds, the virus is responsible for between 15% – 30% of common colds. Over the last 70 years, scientists have found that corona viruses can infect mice, rats, dogs, cats, turkeys, horses, pigs, and cattle. Most recently, authorities identified a corona virus outbreak in China that has now reached other countries.
Facts About CoronaVirus
- There is no cure for the common cold.
- A coronavirus causes both Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome MERS.
- Coronaviruses infect many different species.
- There are seven known human coronaviruses.
- Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
Human coronaviruses (HCoV) were first identified in the 1960s in the noses of patients with the common cold. Two human coronaviruses are responsible for a large proportion of common colds OC43 and 229E.
Coronaviruses were given their name based on the crown-like projections on their surfaces. “Corona” in Latin means “halo” or “crown.”
Cold- or flu-like symptoms usually set in from two to four days after coronavirus infection, and they are typically mild. However, symptoms vary from person to person, and some forms of the virus can be fatal. The very common ones are; sneezing, running nose, cough, sore throat etc.
There is no cure, so treatments include taking care of yourself and over-the-counter (OTC) medication:
- Rest and avoid overexertion.
- Drink enough water.
- Avoid smoking and smoky areas.
- Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and fever.
- Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer.
The virus responsible can be diagnosed by taking a sample of respiratory fluids, such as mucus from the nose, or blood.
Different types of human coronaviruses vary in the severity of illness they cause and how far they can spread. There are currently seven recognized types of coronavirus that can infect humans. The common ones include:
- 229E (alpha coronavirus)
- NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
- HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
Though it’s been discovered along time ago, Chinese scientists have just recently identified an unknown type of coronavirus as the cause of a recent pneumonia outbreak that emerged in Wuhan, China.