2019 Novel Coronavirus
Based on the fact that the number of infected people in China has increased and outbreaks have occurred in many countries. On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization announced that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was listed as Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). At this point, the SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19) disease is not only a battle in China, but also a global battle. So what exactly is the SARS-CoV-2? How does it spread? Where does SARS-CoV-2 come from? And how to treat it? Don't worry, we will illustrate these questions one by one.
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What is The Coronavirus?
Before introducing the SARS-CoV-2, let us understand what is a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. Almost everyone gets infected with coronaviruses at least once in their life, but symptoms are typically mild to moderate. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous, but some are. Those that cause Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) can be deadly.
As the Figure 1 shows, coronaviruses are viruses that are spherical, have protrusions, and are crown-like. They are collectively referred to as coronaviruses. The virus has a diameter of 75 to 160 nanometers, and the virus genome is a continuous linear single-stranded RNA, and the molecular weight is usually (5.5 to 6.1) x106.
Figure 1. The Typical Structure of Coronavirus
The coronavirus genome encodes a spike protein (S), an envelope protein, a membrane protein, and a nucleoprotein in this order. Among them, spike protein is the most important surface membrane protein of coronavirus.
What is The SARS-CoV-2?
The SARS-CoV-2 was discovered because of Wuhan Viral Pneumonia cases in 2019, and was named by the World Health Organization on January 12, 2020. It belongs to the beta genera of the Coronaviridae family in 2003, together with SARS coronavirus (SARS CoV) in 2003 and MERS coronavirus (MERS CoV) in 2012. The alignment between SARS-CoV-2 and 2002 SARS CoV has about 70% sequence similarity and 40% sequence similarity with MERS CoV. There is currently no specific treatment, but many symptoms can be managed, and need to be treated according to the clinical situation of the patient.
CUSABIO paid close attention to the progression of SARS-CoV-2. Once obtaining the virus gene sequence information, we quickly developed and produced SARS-CoV-2 related products. Targets include the Spike protein (S), N protein (N) and ACE2. Moreover, we also provide several products about coronavirus to meet the needs of scientific research.
How does SARS-CoV-2 Spread?
The virus is reportedly spreading from person-to-person in many parts of China and in some other countries by interacting with ACE2 from mucous membrane of eye, mouth and nose. On Jan. 30, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the first case of person-to-person spread in the United States.
In terms of how one would catch the virus, the CDC says that human coronaviruses are most commonly spread between an infected person and others via:
- The air (from viral particles from a cough or sneeze);
- Close personal contact (touching or shaking hands);
- An object or surface with viral particles on it (then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands);
- And rarely from fecal contamination.
What are The Symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 Infection?
As the Figure 2 shows, the typical symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 infection include:
- Main symptoms are fever, fatigue, and dry cough;
- Nasal congestion, runny nose and other upper respiratory symptoms are rare;
- Approximately half of the patients experienced dyspnea after one week, and the severe cases progressed rapidly to acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, difficult to correct metabolic acidosis, and coagulopathy.
It is worth noting that in the course of severe and critically ill patients, there can be moderate to low fever, even without obvious fever. Some patients have mild onset symptoms and no fever. They usually recover after 1 week. Most patients have a good prognosis, and a few patients are critically ill and even die.
Figure 2. The Sympotoms of SARS-CoV-2
Where Does SARS-CoV-2 Come From?
Currently, the origin of SARS-CoV-2 also isn’t clear. But experts suppose that the origin still is wildlife like the other coronaviruses. Coronaviruses originate in animals-like camels, civets and bats-and are usually not transmissible to humans. But occasionally a coronavirus mutates and can pass from animals to humans and then from human to human, as such the case with the SARS epidemic in the early 2000s. China's National Health Commission confirmed that 15 health care workers have become infected, indicating that the virus can spread from human to human.
Writing here, you may confuse that should I be concerned about pets (such as dog and cat) carring SARS-CoV-2? Exactly, there is no evidence suggested coronavirus in dogs and other pets. But, CDC recommends that people traveling to China avoid animals both live and dead.
How to Treat 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
In terms of SARS-CoV-2 treatment, there are no specific treatments for coronavirus infections and most people will recover on their own. So treatment involves rest and medication to relieve symptoms. A humidifier or hot shower can help to relieve a sore throat and cough. If you are mildly sick, you should drink a lot of fluids and rest.
Although there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health confirmed they were in preliminary stages of developing one. Officials plan to launch a phase 1 clinical trial of a potential vaccine within the next three months. Moreover, researchers are also working on gathering samples of the virus to design a therapy that will train patients' immune cells to detect and destroy the virus.
How to Protect Yourself From Coronavirus?
Although there are no specific treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection, we can take these measures to prevent us from it:
- Wash your hands: wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue to hand, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.
- Face masks offer some protection as they block liquid droplets.
- Seek early medical help if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share your travel history with healthcare providers.
- If you have returned from an affected area in the last two weeks, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people for 14 days. This means not going to work, school or public areas.
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