The virus is given the name- coronavirus, due to crown-like spikes protruding from its surface. The name coronavirus is derived from Latin – corona meaning crown which refers to the characteristic appearance reminiscent of a crown. The virus is embedded in a bubble of oily lipid molecule.
The virus enters air passages, through contaminated hands touching mouth, nose or eyes. It gets attached to air passage through protein ACE2. coronavirus is believed to have originated from bats, which may have similar protein.
The coronavirus infects by attaching its oily membrane with the cell membrane and enters inside the cell. It releases its genetic material RNA (Ribonucleic acid). The infected cell reads RNA and helps to make new copies of coronavirus, keeping the immune system at bay.
Newly formed copies of the virus are carried to the cell outer edges. The newly-formed viruses may infect the new cells and the same multiplication process is repeated in other infected cells. It can also carry out through respiratory droplets to spread the infection to other persons. The infected cell finally breaks down and dies.
Body immune system fights to clear the viruses and as a result, in most cases fever is caused. In some cases, the immune system overreacts and acts against lung cells. The lungs become obstructed with dead cells and fluid, resulting in respiratory distress syndrome, that may cause death.
Infected persons through coughing or sneezing release respiratory droplets that may contain the virus. coronavirus remains infectious from several hours to several days depending upon conditions. When a healthy person gets in contact with a surface contaminated with the virus it gets to mucus membranes of nasal passage through hands touching the face. A person touches his or her face 23 times in an hour.
Besides other precautionary measures washing hands with soap frequently seems to be more effective as soap contains a fat-like substance which is very similar to lipids in the virus outer membrane. The soap molecules dissolve the oily lipid molecules that hold the coronavirus intact.
Adopting precautionary measures and seeking medical advice as and when required must be followed.
(For awareness purpose only).