In December 2019, many pneumonia cases were found in China. Investigations found that those cases were because of recently known virus – 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).  Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses which appear like a crown. Crown is known to be corona in latin language, which is why the virus was given the name corona.

There are different types of coronaviruses that cause respiratory and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms. Respiratory symptoms range from common cold to pneumonia. These symptoms are mild for most people. However there are some other types of coronaviruses that cause severe diseases. They are Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus(MERS-CoV) – first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus(SARS-CoV) – first identified in China in 2003.

2019-nCoV was first identified in China. As stated earlier, it initially occurred in a group of people suffering from pneumonia who were associated with seafood and live animal market in the city of Wuhan.The disease then transferred to others including family members and medical staff. Many people seem to be affected in the present. And the disease has spread within China and many other countries as well.

Where did the virus come from?

Set of realistic microscopic colorful viruses of various shape on white background isolated vector illustration

It is known that coronaviruses seem to be present in various animals. These viruses can jump from animals to humans. This process of jumping is known as spillover. Spillover is due to increased contact between animals and humans. MERS-CoV was found to be transferred from camels and SARS-CoV from civet cats. The saddest part is that the animal behind 2019-nCoV is not known yet which is why no antidote has been discovered till date.

How is it transmitted?

The exact process of how nCoV is transmitted is yet to be discovered. But generally the respiratory viruses are usually transmitted through the droplets created when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People with close contact with animals are more likely to be infected. Likewise people who are caring for infected, such as family members or health personnels have a higher chance of infection as well.

What are the symptoms?

As per the study so far, symptoms may range from mild to severe. It can be fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. Looking at the severe cases, it can be pneumonia, kidney failure and death. The mortality rate is not known yet.

How can we tell if someone is infected?

The infection is diagnosed by a test known as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). This test identifies the virus based on its generic fingerprint.


As of yet, there are no medications to cure nCoV but the treatment is supportive care. No vaccines invented as well. Basically health professionals are trying hard to develop one of them.

How can we prevent it?

There are a couple of hygienic actions to protect against infection or transmission. These include

  • Covering mouth while coughing or sneezing with a mask, tissue paper or elbow
  • Avoiding close contact who are sick
  • Special use of masks and personal protective setting especially in health care environment
  • Washing hands regularly
  • Avoiding unnecessary contact with animals
  • Washing hands after unintentional contact with animal
  • Cooking animal products thoroughly before consuming
  • Staying home if unwell
  • Seeking medical care early if you are infected with fever, cough or any symptoms researched above


Since the article is about a recently known and evolving virus, the content can be outdated in the near future. The details will be modified often to remove unnecessary and outdated information.