With the massive spread of the virus that has become a severe plague, just pronouncing the word “Coronavirus” brings fear inside our hearts. This nasty creature brings a deadly respiratory system disease in most cases, especially with old ages. In this article, we go deeply into details about what viruses are like in general and the difference between the Coronavirus and COVID-19.
What is a Virus?
A virus is said to be living and non- living thing at the same time. How could that be? That sounds bizarre, but it is true! As the viruses outside the host – regardless of whether the host is a human, a bird or an animal – is just a volatile chemical compound in the surrounding air until it is inhaled or transferred into the host internal biological system.
When the virus enters a body, it plays the role of a key, and the host living cells’ surface proteins play the role of a lock.
1- The virus creation and the infection mechanism:
A virus mainly looks like a nucleic acid, it may be a double-stranded acid called DNA or single-stranded acid called RNA, that enveloped by a protein capsid with protein receptors on its surface. These protein receptors are the ones responsible for the virus receptors as well, to be bonded later. Then the RNA of the virus enters the cell membrane targeting the cell DNA. Virus DNA/RNA is then embracing in the cell’s DNA to let it produce thousands and thousands of new viruses till the cell burst up, and every new virus targets a new cell and so on. Creepy right?!
2- What are the differences then between COVID-19 and Coronaviruses?
The difference is only in the nomenclature. Coronaviruses, as WHO defined, are a group of viruses that can cause a common cold to other serious diseases. Their common name is “coronaviruses” because their shape looks like a crown under the e-microscope. Coronaviruses is mainly zoonotic, which means it is transferred from animals to humans, as WHO says.
What about Covid-19? The common name for the COVID-19 is “Novel Coronavirus”, and its scientific name is SARS-COV-2 as an abbreviation for severe acute respiratory coronavirus. WHO gives it the name of the COVID-19 because it would be the same as the SARS-COV epidemic that happened in 2003. So why should they provide the same structural name!
3- COVID-19, why it still among us?
COVID-19 can cause the infected host, severe symptoms like breathing difficulties, dry cough, a massive pain in the chest, and respiration, and high fever. It may have, in advanced cases, a liver, kidney, or lung fibrosis. Even though it could be Asymptotic for some people. And that is the main reason to be spread fast and widely.
It contains RNA (Ribonucleic Acid), and it is a single-stranded nucleic acid, which is a highly unstable type, which makes it more exposed to more mutations formation that results in substantial structural modifications leading to the generation of different species of the same virus. We already have two types of the COVID-19 till now the L-species and the S-species. One is with appeared symptoms leads to fatigue and death in advanced cases. While the other species with no signs, a person could look so normal, but he is already a carrier for the COVID-19.
4- Negative and negative always give positive even in the COVID-19 test!
In addition to the above reasons for the fast and widespread of the COVID is, the false test results of COVID-19. You may have the virus, but your results indicate negative which means, you are ready to spread it even more. That’s due to the hardships of the RT-PCR test, which stands for a real-time polymerase chain reaction which is a very sophisticated process researchers that can give false result to positive people to be negative and negative ones with positive results.
Dr. Debora Brix, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, said at a press briefing in the white house in the U.S., “We don’t help people by giving false-positive results. That would not be good for our citizens. How would it feel when someone thinks that his result is positive, but it’s not.”
That is referring to one of two reasons as Dr. Krummholz said:
“It may be the quantity of the virus in the extracted sample from the patient that wasn’t enough.” As the virus might not spread enough in the sample. If the virus RNA extraction done by the researcher was not enough to show in the results, it gives you a negative result although you are already positive.
Since it is highly unstable, as we mentioned above, it could be broken by an RNase enzyme that is found in the air around us.
Or it could be referred to contamination during the extraction or the test process as well, or even in the chemicals that have been used, it may be expired. So, it is challenging to be controlled unless we stayed away from any gatherings till a miracle happens or a vaccine comes up!
5- Why a vaccine takes so long?
A vaccine is a weak copy of the original virus. Like taking the protein capsid of the virus only without the RNA. And that it could be hazardous to researcher health. Even after this step, we should get some tests to prove the quality of the vaccine on animals in a specific period and then be experimented on volunteered infected humans in a much more extended period to be produced later as a pharmaceutical product to be commercially available.
Yes! Unfortunately, it is very hard to be done in a few months, but the good news is that the whole world is trying to come up with a vaccine.
For this reason, all we can do is take our precautions and protect everyone around us. Not to mention, pray for a vaccine to be spread across the world so that everything goes back on track.