What is the New Coronavirus?

A new type of this virus causing the outbreak is different from the human coronaviruses that have been discovered, and further understanding of the virus requires further scientific research.

What Can it Cause?

It is a type of pathogen that causes respiratory and intestinal diseases.  The entire virus particle is like an emperor’s crown, hence the name “coronavirus”. In addition to humans, this virus can infect many mammals such as pigs, cattle, cats, dogs, marten, camels, bats, mice, hedgehogs, and a variety of birds. So far, there were six known human coronaviruses. Four of these coronaviruses are more common in the population and are less pathogenic, generally causing only minor respiratory symptoms similar to the common cold. The other two coronaviruses—Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome s,  so known as SARS  and MERS Coronavirus, can cause severe respiratory diseases. 

Where the Outbreak Started?

Interview on the issue of the pathogenic identification of unexplained viral pneumonia epidemic in Wuhan, the reporter interviewed Xu Jianguo, the leader of the preliminary assessment of pathogenic test results and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He said that the expert group believed that the pathogen of this unexplained case of viral pneumonia was initially determined to be a new coronavirus.

Question 1: What progress has been made in the pathogenic identification of the unexplained viral pneumonia in Wuhan?

As of 21:00 on January 7, 2020, a new type of coronavirus was detected in the laboratory, and the whole genome sequence of the virus was obtained. A total of 15 positive results of the new type of these viruses were detected by the nucleic acid detection method. From 1 positive patient, The virus was isolated from the samples and showed a typical coronavirus appearance under an electron microscope.The expert group believes that the pathogen of this unexplained case of viral pneumonia was initially determined to be a new type of this virus.

Question 2: How is the pathogen identification carried out?

The tissue laboratory used pathogen sequencing for genomic sequencing, nucleic acid detection, and virus isolation on patients’ alveolar lavage fluid, throat swabs, and blood.

Question 3: What procedures are needed to identify the pathogen?

To confirm the cause of an epidemic disease, usually the following points must be met:

  • Suspicious pathogens must be found in the patient, and the pathogenic nucleic acid can be detected in the patient’s clinical sample.
  • From the patient’s clinical sample, the pathogen can be successfully isolated.
  • The isolated pathogen can cause the same disease symptoms when infecting the host animal. 
  • The patient’s antibody titer in the serum during the recovery period increases four-fold, which can help to identify the pathogen.
  • Finding the nucleic acid, genome, and antibody evidence of the pathogen from the patient can be done in a short time. 
  • Scientific research, such as pathogen isolation and pathogenicity identification can take weeks. 
  • The development of specific drugs and vaccines against a new pathogen may take years to complete.

Question 4: What else needs to be done next?

The expert group believes that the pathogen of this unexplained case of viral pneumonia is initially determined as a new type of coronavirus. The next step is to conduct expert research and judgment in combination with etiology research, epidemiological investigation, and clinical manifestations.

World Health Organization

On 31 December 2019, a cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology was reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. On 9 January the Chinese authorities reported that the cause of this viral pneumonia was initially identified as a new type of coronavirus, which is different from any other human coronaviruses discovered so far. Coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Health Blogger