Coronavirus Disease 2019, or more commonly known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness caused by the Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), an enveloped virus that originated in Wuhan, China. It is believed to have zoonotic origins, which means the virus has jumped from animals to humans.
Enveloped viruses have a lipid bilayer that’s studded with an outer layer of virus enveloped glycoproteins.Generally, enveloped viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2, are more sensitive to environmental conditions and more susceptible to disinfectants than non-enveloped viruses.
Cases in the past few months have identified human-to-human transmissions. Human-to-human transmission takes place through exposure to respiratory mucous from coughing, sneezing, or direct saliva transmission through respiration or falling in to conjunctiva.
Currently, the reported COVID-19 symptoms are similar to those caused by other respiratory illnesses, which include chills, fever, loss of taste or smell, muscle pain, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and sore throat. There are other less common symptoms that have been reported, including diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
Serious cases of COVID-19 can cause bronchitis, severe acute respiratory syndrome, pneumonia, and even death.
Information about COVID-19 is currently evolving and developing, but health authorities list preventative measures to help mitigate the spread of the virus. Preventative measures include staying home when you’re sick, maintaining distance, avoiding touching your face, frequently washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol, and disinfecting high touch surfaces in your home, office, and work places.