Lecture: Coronavirus By Ayanyemi Maryam

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Lecture: Coronavirus By Ayanyemi Maryam

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, the viruses cause respiratory infections which are typically mild including the common cold but rarer forms like SARS and MERS can be lethal. In cows and pigs they may cause diarrhea, while in chickens they can cause an upper respiratory disease.

Coronaviruses are viruses in the subfamily

Orthocoronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and with a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genomic size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, the largest for an RNA virus
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Name and morphology

The name “coronavirus” is derived from the Latin corona and the Greek κορώνη (korṓnē,”garland, wreath”), meaning crown or halo. This refers to the characteristic appearance of virions (the infective form of the virus) by electron microscopy, which have a fringe of large, bulbous surface projections creating an image reminiscent of a royal crown or of the solar corona. This morphology is created by the viral spike (S) peplomers, which are proteins that populate the surface of the virus and determine host tropism. Proteins that contribute to the overall structure of all coronaviruses are the spike, envelope, membrane, and nucleocapsid. A defined receptor-binding domain on spike mediates the attachment of the virus to its cellular receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Some coronaviruses (specifically the members of Betacoronavirus subgroup A) also have a shorter spike-like protein called hemagglutinin esterase (HE).
Lecture: Coronavirus By Ayanyemi Maryam


Following the entry of this virus into the cell, the virus particle is uncoated and the RNA genome is deposited into the cytoplasm. The coronavirus RNA genome has a 5′ methylated cap and a 3′ polyadenylated tail. This allows the RNA to attach to ribosomes for translation.
Coronaviruses also have a protein known as a replicase encoded in its genome which allows the RNA viral genome to be transcribed into new RNA copies using the host cell’s machinery. The replicase is the first protein to be made; once the gene encoding the replicase is translated, the translation is stopped by a stop codon. This is known as a nested transcript. When the mRNA transcript only encodes one gene, it is monocistronic. A coronavirus non-structural protein provides extra fidelity to replication because it confers a proofreading function, which is lacking in RNA-dependent RNA polymerase enzymes alone.
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The RNA genome is replicated and a long polyprotein is formed, where all of the proteins are attached. Coronaviruses have a non-structural protein – a protease – which is able to separate the proteins in the chain. This is a form of genetic economy for the virus, allowing it to encode the greatest number of genes in a small number of nucleotides.

Risk factors
  1. Recent travel to places where there is an outbreak
  2. Close contact with people who are diagnosed with the disease
  3. Close contact with anyone who has visited an outbreak zone
  4. Contact with secretion from an infected person
  5. Eating or handling wild animal native to the outbreak zone
  6. Close contact with anyone diagnosed with the virus and coming in contact with secretions for example those produced by sneeze or cough from an infected person.
  1. Symptoms may begin like the flu but go on to develop
  2. Dry Cough
  3. Runny nose
  4. Sore throat
  5. Shortness of breath that is severe enough to warrant hospitalization in many patient.
  6. Fever
  7. Headache that can last for a couples of days.

Currently, only CDC has tests to determine if an individual is infected with the virus. The CDC can confirm d virus with a diagnostic treatment that is developed based on the genetic sequence of the virus.
Lecture: Coronavirus By Ayanyemi Maryam


There is no antiviral drug or vaccine to treat this infection, symptoms relief and supportive care (many requiring hospital care) are the current treatment methods. However, early supportive care may reduce the disease severity. Trials for a MERS vaccine are underway. The US National Institutes of Health is working on a vaccine against the new virus, but it will be months until clinical trials get underway and more than a year until it might become available. Doctors can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication. A humidifier or a hot shower can help with a sore throat or cough. Drink plenty of fluids, get rest and sleep as much as possible

  1. Complications may include:
  2. High fever
  3. Difficulty in breathing
  4. Pneumonia
  5. Severe cough
  6. Organ failure e.g kidney failure and death
How does the coronavirus spread?

Medical researcher currently do not know the animal species infected, but wild animals are suspected source. However, the rapid spread of the virus was due to person to person contact that has been responsible for the wide outbreak of this infection. Close contact with someone who is infected or with their secretion (example, cough generated droplets) is how the virus spreads. Although the virus is contagious, the contagious period of time to remain to be determined. Recent findings suggest it may be contagious even in incubation period when the patient shows no symptoms.

Mortality rate

The outbreak is only about one month old so determination of the mortality rate may change as the disease outbreak continues. However, as of Jan 27, 2020 there were about 2,800 infected people worldwide with 8 death, which give corona virus a current mortality rate of about 3% , unfortunately, there are many patients still in need of critical hospital care.

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue paper and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched object and surfaces.
  • If traveling to China, be aware of symptoms and avoid live animal markets, which is where the latest outbreak began in Wuhan
  • Avoid contact with infected people
  • Avoid going into an outbreak area
    Leaving the outbreak zone.

Can Wearing a mask Protect You from Corona virus.

With mounting concern about the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), many people are trying to figure out the best ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from infection. Two big questions many people have are: Will wearing a face mask keep us safe? And if so, what kind?
The most important thing to understand is that researchers are still trying to work out the ways that this new coronavirus is transmitted. In the meantime,

The best advice based on CDC recommendations is to:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly regularly throughout the day
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • This advice will help protect you from a whole host of infections, including 2019-CoV.
  • Face masks can play a role in preventing the infection, but that role is limited in real world situations.
  • There is some evidence that wearing a face mask can protect you from transmitting the virus from your hands to your mouth, probably because you are paying more attention to NOT touching your face when youre wearing it.
  • You also have some protection from splash droplets if an infected person sneezes or coughs around you.
  • The biggest concern that doctors have around recommending masks is the false sense of security that might come along with wearing one.
  • There are a lot of reasons why face masks are not ideal. For example, its really hard to find one that fits perfectly around your nose and mouth or to keep it on for a long period of time. The minute you scratch your nose or touch your mouth behind the mask, youve lost the protection that the mask is supposed to offer.

In medical settings, there are very specific guidelines about when to use masks and what kind of protection to wear depending on the type of infection patients have.
Droplet precautions: Use a rectangular surgical face mask for an infection that spreads by large droplets when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. Infections like flu, whooping cough, and certain types of bacterial meningitis fall into this category. Both the person who is infected and the people caring for them should wear a face mask. It is really important that caregivers dispose of the mask after every interaction and use a new one any time they are in close confines with an infected person.
Airborne precautions: Some lung or throat infections spread when small viral or bacterial particles stay suspended in the air and are breathed in by others. 2019-CoV, measles, SARS, chickenpox and tuberculosis are a part of this category. In these cases, the infected person should wear a face mask. And all people coming into close contact should wear an N95 respirator, masks with a special air filter designed to protect from tiny airborne particles. These masks fit to a persons face and are usually rounded in shape.
While researchers continue to learn more about how this new coronavirus spreads, the recommendations around masks focus on people who have the infection or are highly likely to be exposed.

  1. People who have the infection or are at high risk for being exposed should wear a surgical face mask.
  2. Anyone caring for someone infected in a medical setting should wear a respirator mask as part of airborne precautions.
  3. For the rest of us, the best protection — hand washing, avoiding sick people, and not touching our face with unwashed hands —
  4. also helps prevent colds and the flu. If you choose to wear a surgical mask, make sure you have the best fit possible around your mouth and nose.
  5. Properly dispose of the mask and put on a new one anytime someone coughing or sneezing around you contaminates it.
  6. It is also incredibly important to share your travel history with your doctors and reach out for early medical help if you have a fever, cough, trouble breathing.
  • 1.Orthocoronavirinae ” . International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) . Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  • 2. Groot RJ, Baker SC , Baric R, Enjuanes L, Gorbalenya AE, Holmes KV, Perlman S, Poon L, Rottier PJ, Talbot PJ, Woo PC, Ziebuhr J (2011). “Family
    Coronaviridae “. In AMQ King, E Lefkowitz, MJ Adams, EB Carstens (eds.). Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Elsevier, Oxford. pp. 806–828.
    ISBN 978-0-12-384684-6 .
  • 3.Coronavirus: Common Symptoms, Preventive Measures, & How to Diagnose It”. Caringly Yours. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  • 4. Li F, Li W, Farzan M, Harrison SC (September 2005). “Structure of SARS coronavirus spike receptor-binding domain complexed with receptor”.
  • 5. Fehr AR, Perlman S (2015). “Coronaviruses: an overview of their replication and pathogenesis”.
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  1. Iyiola Abdulqudus says:

    This is an interesting and comprehensive write up.

    1. Abdul9ja says:

      Thanks For Your Comments