What is Coronavirus?

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ovel Wuhan Coronavirus 2019, more often called coronavirus or COVID-19, is a new strain of virus similar in structure to SARS. It produces respiratory symptoms after an incubation period ranging 1-14 days.

Coronavirus is principally spread by contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person. A healthy person may inhale these in close proximity with a sufferer. They may also touch a surface with the droplets, then transfer the virus by touching the face, eyes, nose, or mouth.

What Conditions is Coronavirus Associated With?

Coronavirus disease, more commonly called COVID-19, is an infectious respiratory illness. It causes flu-like symptoms that typically include dry cough, body aches, and fever. Some patients have no symptoms. In more severe cases, difficulty breathing develops.

Difficulty breathing arises from two factors: The initial attack on the lungs and the body’s inflammatory response. Inflammation is a result of immune system activity and serves to limit the virus from progressing through the lungs.

Initial research indicated people over age 60 were at greatest risk of coronavirus hospitalization. Young children may have limited protection from the disease. However, significant coronavirus symptoms have been observed in all age groups.

Coronavirus Recovery and Lifestyle Changes

Around 50% of people in the United States live in an area where social distancing has been ordered by state or local governments.

Social distancing is a means of reducing coronavirus spread by remaining at least six feet apart at all times, staying isolated as much as possible from others you do not live with, and washing your hands regularly. Many people have been ordered not to report to work.

Approximately 80% of coronavirus cases do not result in hospitalization. An unknown number of cases do not result in any symptoms. However, even people with no symptoms may “shed” the virus, enabling it to be passed on.

Most patients recover within about 10-14 days of experiencing symptoms. Of those, mild or moderate cases do not lead to permanent loss of lung capacity. However, even patients who no longer experience symptoms are infectious for up to two weeks.

The most intensive cases can lead to viral pneumonia and permanently impair lung function.

What Research Currently Exists Around Coronavirus?

Coronavirus research is proceeding at a fast pace. Researchers around the world are hard at work on potential treatments. At least three promising vaccines are in development in the U.S., Europe, and China.

There is no cure or vaccine for coronavirus. Treatment is limited to what can be done to reduce symptoms during recovery. Still, the slow rate of mutation exhibited by the coronavirus suggests a vaccine could offer lasting protection.

Why Are Further Coronavirus Clinical Trials Important?

Coronavirus fatality rates have been estimated anywhere from 1%-4%. Coronavirus clinical trials have the potential to save millions of lives that would otherwise be lost over the next several years. With global interest in coronavirus vaccine, coronavirus clinical trials benefit from former coronavirus patients as well as those who have never been exposed to the disease.

Current Coronavirus Clinical Trials

This is the current list of active coronavirus clinical trials registered with ClinicalTrials.gov.

New clinical resources for coronavirus are being developed rapidly. Patients and their families should watch this space for announcements about coronavirus clinical studies.

Conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic is like no other public health challenge in living memory. People around the world are banding together to slow the spread and find treatments. Coronavirus clinical resources depend on those who follow all social distancing guidelines, support their community’s medical professionals, and participate in coronavirus clinical trials if possible.