Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Basic Details

  • COVID-19: Corona Virus Disease 2019 (named by WHO)
  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less severe common cold to more severe diseases.
  • Many coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted from animals to humans.
  • The COVID-19 was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, China.
  • It is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Other name: novel Coronavirus.
  • Structure of novel Coronavirus is Club shaped Glycoprotein spike protrude through a lipid bilayer.
  • Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • The virus is typically spread from one person to another via respiratory droplets, during coughing.
  • The virus can live on surfaces up to 72 hours.
  • The standard method of diagnosis is by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) from a nasopharyngeal swab and sometimes also through combination of symptoms, risk factors and Chest CT scan showing features of pneumonia.

Add ons

Nasopharyngeal Swab

  • It is a method of collecting a sample from the back of the nose and throat. Nasopharyngeal swabs are narrow sticks made of a short plastic rod covered, at one tip, with adsorbing material as cotton, polyester or flocked nylon.
  • To collect the sample, they are inserted in the nostril and kept in place for several seconds to absorb secretions.

Stages of Spread of Coronavirus

  • Stage 1 | Imported Cases: These are the cases of those who have travelled to virus-hit foreign countries and have come back to India.
  • Stage 2 | Local Transmission: These are those cases who have come in contact with patients who have a travel history.
  • Stage 3 | Community Transmission: Community transmission is when, a patient neither exposed to any infected person nor one who has travelled to any of the affected countries, tests positive. Large areas get affected when community transmission takes place.
  • Stage 4 | Epidemic: This is the last and the worst stage where the disease take the shape of an epidemic with no clear end point like it did in China.

Spread of Coronavirus


  • As of now, there is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
  • In India, the Union Health Ministry guidelines has recommended use of anti-HIV drug combinations Lopinavir and Ritonavir on a case-to- case basis depending upon the severity of the condition of a person having coronavirus infection.

Facts on Myths (by WHO)

  • Since Coronavirus is a respiratory virus not a food-born one, it cannot spread through meat products like chicken or mutton
  • Consuming garlic, curry leaves or cow’s urine will not cure Coronavirus infection.
  • From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS (including hot and humid climatic countries).
  • Coronavirus cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.

Practice Questions


Q1) SARS is described as zoonotic virus. What does this mean?

a) Such viruses are confined to animals

b) They do not cause disease in humans

c) They emerge from animals to cross the species barrier infrequently

d) They cause pandemics

Answer – c

Explanation: The emergence of viruses can be complex and although at first sight the civet cat was blamed, the ultimate reservoir for SARS is a bat in SE Asia. A pandemic implies rapid global spread and this has not been a feature to date.

Q2) Structure of coronavirus is -

a) Club shaped glycoprotein spikes protrude through a lipid bilayer

b) An icosahedral structure with an envelope

c) An icosahedral large pleomorphic virus

d) Large regimented barrel shaped virus

Answer – a



Q1) Analyse the multidimensional impact of COVID-19.

Q2) Despite the fact that TB kills more than 650 Indians daily, it did not receive as much attention of people and  government as novel Coronalvirus. Critically evaluate.