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Symptoms of COVID-19
"Corona Virus" - Common Symptoms
The most common symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing. In the most severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and in some cases death.
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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses known to cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
They are positive filament RNA viruses with a corona-like appearance under an electron microscope. The subfamily Orthocoronavirinaeof the family Coronaviridaeis classified into four genera of coronavirus (CoV): Alpha-, Beta-, Delta- and Gammacoronavirus. Thegenus of the betacoronavirusis further separated into five subgenera (including the Sarbecovirus).
Coronaviruses were identified in the mid 1960s and are known to infect humans and certain animals (including birds and mammals). The primary target cells are the epithelial cells of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract.
To date, seven coronaviruses have been shown to be capable of infecting humans:
- Common human coronaviruses: HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 (Betacoronavirus) and HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 (Alphacoronavirus); they can cause common colds but also serious infections of the lower respiratory tract.
- Other human coronaviruses (Betacoronaviruses): SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and 2019-nCoV (now called SARS-CoV-2).
A new coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has never previously been identified in humans. In particular the one named SARS-CoV-2 (formerly 2019-nCoV), was never identified before it was reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
The virus causing the current coronavirus outbreak has been called “Severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 syndrome” (SARS-CoV-2). This was reported by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses(ICTV) which deals with the designation and naming of viruses (i.e. species, genus, family, etc.). The name was given by a group of expertsspecially commissioned to study the new coronavirus strain. According to this pool of scientists the new coronavirus virus is the sibling of the one that caused Sars (SARS-CoVs), hence the chosen name of SARS-CoV-2.
The disease caused by the new Coronavirus has a name: “COVID-19”(where “CO” stands for crown, “VI” for virus, “D” for disease and “19” indicates the year in which it occurred). This was announced on February 11, 2020, in a briefing with the press during a break at the extraordinary Forum dedicated to the virus, the Director General of Oms Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
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