Coronavirus Outbreak, Transmission, & Pathophysiology
Welcome to another MedCram lecture! One of the things that’s in the news and hopefully goes away real soon is the Coronavirus epidemic from 2019. Now as it turns out it started on the last day of 2019 and has been with us in 2020.
Let’s talk a little bit about coronavirus. So it seems as though this virus came from Wuhan, China. They’ve seemed to have pinpointed this to an animal Market. In fact, a number of the people that were hospitalized, and we’ll talk about that article in the Lancet, came from this animal market, and as of January 25, 2020, they estimate about 1300 people have been infected and about 41 people to date as of January 25th have died.
And of course this number is expected to go up. Where is it spread to? Well, other than China and Asia, this has spread already to Australia, France and the United States, specifically two cases, one in Chicago, a woman in Chicago and a man in Washington State. And we’ll talk more about that. We expect that to go up. But what really is going on with a Coronavirus? And why is this one so different?
So, we’ve known about coronaviruses for a long time. It’s an RNA virus, so we know that and let’s face it. There are coronaviruses all over the place in humans, and they usually cause the common cold. What’s unusual about this one is that this one seems to have jumped from one that is already in an animal to that being in a human. So there’s tons of coronaviruses that infect animals, but what has seemed to have happened here for the first time as this one has jumped into a human that a human hasn’t seen before.
How could that happen? Well, it could be from a mutation. And that’s typically what happens as there’s a mutation in the protein in this virus that allows it to bind to human proteins, and that allows the virus to get inside of the cells of humans. And if it can replicate, then it can spread throughout the human body and then perhaps spread to another human body.
So what needs to happen? There has to be a mutation, and that mutation is already there in the animal. And then there has to be close contact with that animal either living with that animal or eating that animal to get that mutated virus that normally lives in an animal into the human being. So when that virus then gets into the human being, it’s got to be able to replicate so that there are more viruses. And then it has to be able to spread to another human being and that is what’s going to cause an epidemic.
So, how does that happen? Well, there’s got to be replication as we just said, and they believe that that virus can replicate inside the human. And then how does it spread to another human as opposed to just another animal spreading it to another human? Well, the way that you get an epidemic is with replication occurring inside that person, in that infected person, and then it spreads. How would it spread? Well, it could spread by Airborne. So that’s why you’d want to wear a mask, close contact, so a loved one, (and) contaminated surfaces.
So that’s why you have to wash your hands very carefully or rarely fecal contamination. But these are the things that you can attack to prevent the spread of this virus, but we’ve seen this before, and where have we seen this coronavirus type of thing happening before?
Well, you all may remember SARS back in 2002. This was from bats, which is where the virus was infecting a mammal called civets, and then they were being eaten or living close to humans.
Fortunately, we haven’t seen any more infection since 2004, but that was a big thing back in 2002. Then MERS, which had to do with the Middle East, have to do with camel viruses that lived in the camel. And if (you) ate the camel or drank the Camel’s milk, you could get this type of infection.
Now, the new one is humans with this infection called n-CoV, which is what they’re calling it now. So nCoV is the new coronavirus that’s coming out of Wuhan, China, 2019, and that has gone into humans. But the question is who did it come from? What is the host?
So what they did was they sequence this virus. In the Journal of Medical Virology, and we’ll put a link to this article in our description below, so you can see it. What they did was they sequence this RNA, and they compared it to 200 other RNA Coronaviruses that are known to infect animals. And the one they came up with, which was a match that was pretty close, was one in snakes.
And so what their conclusion was, and we don’t know if this is in fact true, but this was their conclusion was that in the Wuhan animal market, there must have been a snake that had a mutated coronavirus, which they’re now calling nCoV, somebody either ate it or was close to it, or somehow got contact with it, and that virus just started to replicate inside of that person, and that person spread it.
And as we’ll see in the Lancet article, which we will also put a link to in our description below, they found a whole family that had this virus that were hospitalized. And we’ll talk about the symptoms and the mortality and things of that nature here coming up in our second video.
This is what they think is going on in China with the coronavirus, and this is big news right now because millions and millions of people are quarantined in China as I’m making this video.
So in our next video, we’ll talk about the symptoms, and what they’re doing for treatment vaccines, and what you can do to prevent you getting this coronavirus. Thanks for joining us!