Q: What is a novel coronavirus?

Ans: A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The recently identified coronavirus  2019 in China (COVID-19 now known as SARS2), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans. It is a completely new strain of virus possibly formed by mixing of genomes within animals possibly bats, camels, fowls, pangolin, civets or any other. Since it is a new strain which humans have not yet tackled in the past, therefore diagnosis and treatment are difficult for the virus. It is still not confirmed that what the exact source of this virus was.

Q: What is the name of the virus causing the outbreak of coronavirus disease in 2019 from Wuhan, China?

Ans: On February 11, 2020, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, named the novel coronavirus, identified in Wuhan, China, as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, shortened to SARS-CoV-2.

As the name indicates, the virus is related to the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) that caused an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003, however, it is not the same virus.

Q: What is COVID-19?

Ans: It is the official name given to the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak by WHO on February 11, 2020. The name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”

Q: How does the virus causing Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), spread?

Ans: This virus was first detected in Wuhan, China. The first infections were linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. Currently, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.

Q: Can someone who has had COVID-19 spread the illness to others?

Ans: The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why these patients should be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

Q: Can someone who has been treated for COVID-19 and released from isolation spread the illness to others?

Ans:  A person is released from isolation when:-

  • The patient is free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • The patient is no longer showing symptoms, including cough.
  • The patient has tested negative on at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected at least 24 hours apart.

Therefore someone who has been released from isolation is not considered to pose a risk of infection to others.

Q: Is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 the same as the MERS-CoV or the SARS-CoV virus?

Ans: No. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Coronaviruses affect both humans and animals. Coronaviruses affecting humans usually cause cold-like illnesses. Others cause illness in certain types of animals, such as cattle, camels, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can spread to people. This happened with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The virus that causes COVID-19 likely also originated in an animal and spread to humans. The coronavirus most similar to the virus causing COVID-19 is SARS-CoV. There are ongoing investigations to learn more. The situation is changing, and information will be updated as it becomes available.

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