Photo Story: What we know about the novel coronavirus so far

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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in the last week of the year 2019. Since then, not only did the virus spread to hundreds of countries and territories and caused a major global health crisis to an extent that it was declared a pandemic, as new information about the virus came in, it left researchers and experts shocked and scared about the potential of the virus. With some experts calling the SARS-CoV-2 the “most intelligent” virus ever, to reports of the virus mutating, it became difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Scientists, however, continued to work tirelessly to find effective treatment and prevention methods to contain the spread of the virus.

As the total number of coronavirus cases exceed the 12.5 million mark around the world, claiming more than 5,60,000 lives globally, there is still a lot about the virus that we do not know. However, as researchers look for new information about the virus and the disease it causes, here is a few things we know about the coronavirus so far.

More than two hundred researchers recently wrote to the WHO saying that there exists enough evidence that coronavirus may be airborne, contrary to what the WHO guidelines say about the spread of the virus – that it spreads through a cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person. The WHO has now issued new guidelines in respect and has also said that indoor airborne transmission of the virus is possible.

Almost 30% of genome sequencing data from samples of the COVID-19 virus collected by the World Health Organization (WHO) have shown signs of mutation, but there is no evidence this has led to more severe disease, a top WHO official recently said. A lot of talks about the virus mutating, and if the strand has become more virulent or contagious have been around.

Initially, fever, cough, and shortness of breath were reported as the only symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. However, as the virus progressed, it was found that the virus affects more than just the lungs. Recent evidence of the COVID-19 disease-causing considerable brain damage has also come to light.

Ever since the pandemic began, a race to develop and conduct trials for vaccine candidates also began. More than a hundred vaccines against the novel coronavirus are currently under development. Those leading the race are Oxford and AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate, Moderna’s vaccine, and Coronavac from Sinovac, China. India’s indigenous vaccine candidate from ICMR and Bharat Biotech named Covaxin recently began the process testing and hopes to launch the vaccine on August 15.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, recently added 3 new symptoms to the list of COVID-19 symptoms. The list, however, has been getting longer ever since new information about the virus started to come in. Muscle aches, headaches, foot sores, loss of taste and smell, etc are some of the new symptoms added to the list.

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