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Coronavirus outbreak: As India gets first patient, govt shares FAQs on deadly disease

The government informed: "A 24*7 helpline has been set up by the government at the National Centre for Disease Control in New Delhi to respond to queries related to the disease."

January 30, 2020 / 09:23 PM IST

As the fatal Wuhan Coronavirus continues to be the malady without a cure, affecting thousands across the globe, claiming 170 lives in China alone, the Indian government released a detailed list of frequently asked questions on the disease.

In a series of tweets posted on January 30, the day India got its first confirmed case of coronavirus, the Press Information Bureau gave detailed answers to common queries, such as the symptoms, how to prevent, etc.

Let’s take a look at them.

1) What is 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

The new strain of coronavirus or 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first identified in Wuhan city of China’s Hubei Province.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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2) What is the source?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses – some causing illness in people, and others circulating among animals. While the exact source of the infection remains to be identified, initial reports suggested it had something to do with the mega animal and fish protein market in Wuhan.

This raised suspicions on the disease spreading through animals, but researchers haven’t been able to lay their fingers on it yet.

3) What are the first symptoms of Coronavirus infection?

So far, patients have reported high fever, cough and cold, and difficulty in breathing.

4) How does the virus spread?

Although there’s no certainty over how the Novel Coronavirus is transmitted, yet an animal is believed to have been the first carrier; then the contagious disease just spread from one human to another.

As of now, medicos believe it is transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs – just how the common flu or viral fevers spread.

5) What is the Government of India doing about 2019-nCoV?

A 24*7 helpline has been set up by the government at the National Centre for Disease Control in New Delhi to respond to queries related to the disease.

The Centre is closely monitoring the situation and has the assurance that all the states have a basic level of preparedness to deal with the viral infection.

6) Is there a vaccine to protect people from 2019 novel Corona Virus?

No such vaccine is available yet.

7) How can I protect myself?

Since no vaccines are available yet, the only way to prevent oneself from being infected is by limiting exposure to the virus. One can postpone all non-essential plans to travel to China or any other affected country.

Maintain personal hygiene – wash your hands with soap frequently, sanitise, cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing.

8) What should I do if I come in close contact with an infected person?

Monitor your health constantly for the next 28 days and check if you are developing any of the symptoms. If you have a fever or breathing trouble, visit the nearest clinic without any delay.

9) How are Coronavirus patients being treated?

There is no specific treatment available yet and infected persons are being quarantined and given supportive care to help relieve the symptoms.

10) Should I test for 2019-novel Coronavirus?

If you have a high fever, respiratory illness, coughing, etc, visit a doctor. If the medical practitioner there feels you need to be tested, depending on whether you have travelled to any of the affected countries recently or come in contact with a suspected/ confirmed patient, then a test can be administered.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jan 30, 2020 06:51 pm

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