Scientists believe that coronavirus does not mutate significantly in human populations, opening a chance of long-term success for a single vaccine.
According to the scientists who are working on the genetic code, the relative stability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus strain reduces the risk of spread and creates hope for vaccine production.
Normally, all virus evolve and change when they are replicated and spread in a large population. However, SARS-CoV-2 has a “proofreading” function to reduce errors in the copy cycle. According to the researchers, the virus after copying does not change much and is no more dangerous than the prototype virus.
The Washington Post quoted Johns Hopkins University geneticist Peter Thielan as saying that scientists were studying more than 1,000 different virus samples. According to him, based on the virus sample spread in Wuhan ( China ), they only found 4-10 genetic mutations in the virus samples that attacked Americans .
“This is a relatively low number of mutations for a virus that spreads in such a large population,” said Thielen. “At this stage, the rate of mutation will determine the success or failure of a single treatment vaccine.”
In contrast to the flu, which requires different vaccines each year, Thielen hopes coronavirus can be prevented in the long term with a single dose of vaccine.
Many vaccines against Covid-19 are in the process of research and development. However, experts estimate the vaccine takes at least a year to a year and a half to be fully ready.
Experts Stanley Perlman of the University of Iowa and Benjamin Neuman of Texas A&M University, virologists of the international commission of coronavirus, also confirmed that the strain is quite stable and does not have significant mutations. tell me.
“But if the epidemic persists for another year, the virus can then change even more.” Neuman compared the coronavirus to the flu, which has many unpredictable mutations. “The flu virus genome is divided into segments with separate codes. “When two flu viruses are in the same cell, they can swap code together and create new variants immediately.”
Experts say only a small mutation in the new strain could have a major impact on the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there have been no significant changes so far.
For example, the high death rate in Italy is due to external factors, such as an aging population, an overcrowded hospital, a lack of ventilators, a lack of manpower, not due to a virus mutation. “As far as we can observe, the high damage profile of the disease has no relation to the mutation of the virus, which is largely due to other situational factors,” said Mr. Thielen.
- Wrong calculations led to the US ‘fall’ before the pandemic Coronavirus
March 26 marked an unhappy milestone for Americans when it officially became the country with the most cases of coronavirus infection in the world.
The number one position previously belonged to China , where the disease began. As of March 27, the country has recorded 81,782 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Italy holds the second position with 80,589 cases.
United States jumped to China’s position with 82,404 cases. The situation is forecast to continue to deteriorate further.
In late February, the disease in China reached 80,000 cases and just started outbreaks in Japan , Korea , Iran and Italy. At that time, America on the surface still seemed quiet. As of February 20, the US recorded only 15 positive cases and all were related to travel abroad.
Then American officials began to take the test seriously, with the number of cases rising every day. On March 1, the US recorded 75 infections. About 6 days later, this number increased to 435. On March 14, there were 2,770 cases. On March 21, 24,192 patients were confirmed. The United States now steps past more than 82,000 cases and the number will continue to rise over the next few weeks.
Why is the ‘leading the world infection’ moment so fast?
Many opinions explain that: By the time the US recorded few cases, the disease actually began to develop seriously but was not detected.
The mismanagement in February led to disaster. Government officials, a large part of the media and even some experts reassured the American people they had nothing to fear. This allows the virus to spread, until the scale is too large to continue to ignore. At that time, the disease would have spread so much that it could not be stopped if the United States did not take measures to limit social exposure, leading to severe economic trade-offs.
Many criticisms are directed towards President Donald Trump , as he has cut the resources, personnel, and authority of many health agencies making them difficult to operate. He makes crisis statements in his usual style, cites controversial information about accuracy and uses great words. This tactic has been effective in many scandals recently, but not with coronavirus
Still, failure to respond is not just about the leader. Zeynep Tufekci, an information science expert at the University of North Carolina, in recent months has called on the United States to take more drastic action to prepare for the prospect of a coronavirus outbreak.
“The message of lullaby spread not only from Donald Trump and his audience, but also in the US media, exhorting us to worry more about seasonal flu and warning people not to react excessively, ”Tufekci said.
While the government was ignoring, there were signs from some other countries that the disease was “docking” in the US. However, those who know the situation hardly ever speak out. Those who openly warn against comments are overreacting. People believed in the reassurances from public health experts and thought that the low number of cases was true.
The United States remained normal while the virus spread. Now, the most powerful country in the world is facing the most serious epidemic in the world. The question is: Is it too late to turn things around?
Most cases but still in control
The fact that the United States has identified more coronavirus cases than any other country is a sign that the situation is extremely serious. However, this does not automatically mean that this is the most serious outbreak in the world.
Testing is the first factor to consider. The United States initially had low levels of karma, with many cases showing moderate symptoms that were still required at home to follow up and not immediately tested. However, there are also other countries that are testing at even lower levels than the US.
Some estimates suggest that the number of infections in Iran could reach millions, but the government did not record it. There are concerns that some other pandemic hotspots such as India and Indonesia are inaccurately reporting cases due to limited health systems and poverty. One study found that Indonesia is only accounting for about 10% of symptomatic infections. This figure in India is estimated to be between 10-30%.
The remaining factor to consider is the population. America is the 3rd most populous country in the world. In Italy, on average, one in 750 people will detect a positive case. The number in the US is 1 in 4,000, and in New York City alone it is 1/400. The number of infections per capita will show more clearly the level of overload of the health system and the scale of the impact of the virus.
While the per capita infection rate in the US is still lower than in many European countries, the final statistics still seem more serious. Although only a small part of the population of a populous country, the fact that thousands of people suffer from illness and high mortality is obviously a tragedy.
The high number of infections in the United States is a result of a large population, widespread virus outbreaks and improved testing capacity. The fact that the number of HIV-infected cases in the United States has jumped through testing may be a good sign that the country is still able to turn things around.
How did the epidemic land?
By the end of January, China tightened restrictive travel measures across the country. Wuhan City is placed in a blockade. Hospitals and aggressive treatment units overload patients with corornavirus.
Under this situation, the US prohibits entry of all foreign citizens who have been to China. The move helps significantly delay the number of people infected in the US and gives the country more time to prepare better, according to Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Every other response of the government is horribly embarrassing,” Frieden said. The United States wasted its preparation time.
The government’s budget cuts and mismanagement reduced the capacity of many crisis response agencies. The CDC then started research and testing to identify the new strain of coronavirus, but they sent it to laboratories with the wrong reagents. New test kit instructions are also sent.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has delayed approval of self-developed test applications from laboratories across the US. Independent researchers at the Flu Study project, Seattle, Washington, where the first serious outbreak occurred, asked to conduct the tests themselves, but were also denied by the government.
“We feel like we are waiting for a pandemic to explode. We can help, but nothing can be done, ”said Helen Chu, who led the research.
The government has regulations restricting testing for people who have been to China or who have contacted people who have confirmed positive for coronavirus. The shortcoming is that people who have been to Korea, Iran, Italy or countries where the epidemic has been detected will not be tested. If they spread the disease to others, they cannot be tested either . Attempts to identify virus that are spreading in the US have become an impossible task.
By comparing a patient’s genetic sample, virologist Trevor Bradford estimated that the disease had started spreading in Washington state since mid-January. By the end of February, the virus had passed to a nursing home and died. US health officials have repeated the message that there is no infection of the community. The director of the National Institutes of Health Anthony Fauci then identified the risk of coronavirus in the US as low. On February 17, he focused on warning people of the risk of dying of children from seasonal flu at its highest level in a decade.
The American people are aware that the situation is still not worrying. Many media outlets posted content emphasizing that the risk from the flu is higher than coronavirus. This is a serious communication mistake but also reflects exactly what they have received from leading national health officials.
According to Bedford’s estimates, more than 7,000 actually occurred in the United States by the end of February, far ahead of the 68 confirmed positive patients. It was then that a laboratory in California announced they had detected the first community-acquired coronavirus in the United States.
By March, everything had become so clear that it couldn’t be ignored. Community transmission is reported in many cities. However, the reaction of the US government is still slow.
FDA does not urgently permit laboratories to conduct independent testing. Even the testing regulations were tightened, which caused some establishments to cancel the collected samples. The US test level improved, but at that time the virus was speeding up the spread.
One by one, the county and state governments decided to close schools, declare a state of emergency, call people to limit social contact or conduct blockades. Everything happened in a hurry when the local leadership did not have enough research data on hand because the test was too few.
Italy closed all schools on March 4 and sealed off the nation with fewer than 10,000 infections. Meanwhile, the US in turn passed the milestones of 10,000 cases (March 19), 20,000 cases (March 21) and 50,000 cases (March 24) without any travel restrictions was issued on a national scale.
Some local and state officials, such as the Mayor of London Breed of San Francisco and Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio, have chosen their own path, taking drastic measures early on to stop the spread of infection. Some local leaders, such as Texas Deputy Governor Dan Patrick, do not want to cause economic damage. Mr. Patrick argued: If a person were asked “do you want to trade your chance of survival to keep the America that Americans love for your children and grandchildren”, every grandpa and grandmother across the country will accept take risks and let viruses spread.
Statements such as that of the Texas vice governor were criticized for being incomplete. Blockade measures can have an economic impact, but the deaths of thousands of Americans and the overcrowded health system and declining worker health have caused equally great economic losses.
When testing and detecting cases of New York were out of control, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor of Bill de Blasio openly debated the measure to ban people from going out, similar to the policy. Early on in the California Bay Area.
While epidemiologists urge people to limit social contact, the lack of organization and the transmission of ambiguous messages from politicians, coupled with the lack of testing, have reduced awareness.
Recently, the US has taken stronger action to prevent the disease. Schools are closed in many places. The measure is applicable to both restaurants and bars. California, with more than 40 million people and accounting for a fifth of the nation’s GDP, soon asked residents to stay indoors. There are 19 other states in the US that follow the model in the West Bank.
The reality is that the United States has responded slowly and current measures risk not being able to work as intended. It is still not possible to ensure that current measures are sufficient to address the situation in New York, New Orleans and Atlanta, which is seriously lacking in intensive care beds. Coping efforts will therefore continue to “escalate” in the battle with the coronavirus, creating a greater economic burden.
A false start over 1 month ago put the United States at a disadvantage in the next phase of the battle with the coronavirus. March is almost over and the US is still in a defensive position, the virus continues to “attack” and spread with the number of infections increasing hour by hour.
- Why does coronavirus need to be named Covid-19?
According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the word “Co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”.
On 11/2, WHO announced the new name of the coronavirus strain causing pneumonia is Covid-19. Prior to this official name, the coronavirus was once called many different names.
Coronavirus – 2019-nCoV is not a thorough call
Coronavirus is a term used by many international media or Chinese media in the period without an official name. The origin of this name is the structure similar to the new virus strain with previous diseases such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) or MERS (respiratory syndrome of the Middle East). Based on the same protein structure as SARS to 85%, the scientists used it as a basis for research into vaccines and new treatments for viral strains.
Coronavirus is really just a temporary name, covering many different strains of virus. They are referred to as crown-like viruses (such as SARS and MERS). Therefore, the invocation of corona virus (or coronavirus) does not reflect its properties and biological characteristics.
According to CDC statistics, there are four groups of coronaviruses called: alpha, beta, gamma and delta. Human coronaviruses were first found in the 1960s. Research shows that there are seven types of coronaviruses that can infect humans, namely:
- Common corona virus strain: 229E (alpha coronavirus); NL63 (alpha coronavirus); OC43 (beta coronavirus); HKU1 (beta coronavirus).
- Special corona virus strain: MERS-CoV (beta coronavirus causing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS); SARS-CoV (beta coronavirus causing severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS); 2019-nCoV (causes acute pneumonia).
Before the Chinese government proposed a new name, WHO proposed using the provisional name of the new pneumonia as acute respiratory disease 2019-nCoV . According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, the symbol of 2019 implies the same meaning as naming a child born in 2019, CBC News quoted. However, this name is quite difficult to pronounce. Many people are still used to using the corona virus to indicate a new outbreak of pneumonia.
On February 8, China announced the provisional name of the disease during the period when WHO did not have an official name. Accordingly, the new name is abbreviated by the English name of coronary disease caused by corona virus: Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) , New York Times said.
After being issued, many Chinese media have used the term NCP to replace corona virus in order to have the most accurate view of the new disease outbreak.
It is necessary to name the new strain of coronavirus
When there was no official name, many places still called the new pneumonia with some names such as Wuhan pneumonia (Wuhan virus), Chinese pneumonia. This is like many other epidemics named after the geographic area where the virus was discovered in the 20th century. For example, the Spanish flu; Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever; Lyme for a town in Connecticut; Ebola for a river nearby.
But regional naming has sparked major ethnic conflicts and inequalities in the community. The name of the disease is tied to countries and localities, although in many cases it is not really the origin of the disease.
The BBC reported on 11/2, the WHO announced to the world the official name of coronary pneumonia caused by Covid-19 . It is essential to distinguish this disease and to avoid confusion with other corona strains that have been detected or not yet detected in the future.
According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the word “Co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”.
This name guarantees the criteria that WHO issued a new guideline for virus naming in 2015. Previously, this organization has been criticized for calling MERS as the Middle East respiratory syndrome. Or in the past names like Spanish flu, Rift Valley fever are considered to contribute to the stigma of countries or regions where the disease is occurring.
The WHO guidelines recommend that people should not be used to name diseases (e.g. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Chagas disease), animal names (swine flu, encephalitis), names that mean a culture or career (Legionnaires’ disease) or words that cause unnecessary fear (death …). These are to avoid global panic as well as to create an underground wave of racial discrimination.
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Preview Photo by Alisa
- Why Coronavirus Not ‘Alive’ But so Difficult to Eradicate?
After billions of years of evolution, virus have learned how to “survive without life” – a terrifyingly effective strategy to make them endure, constantly threatening humans.
The deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus has brought to a standstill that the global life is only a cluster of genetic material, surrounded by protruding proteins with a thickness of 1/1000 thick eyebrow, which looks like a crown. (hence the name “corona”, meaning crown).
They are like zombies pretending to be (zombies), almost no sign of living things. But as soon as they enter the human airway, the virus activates, attacks the cell, multiplying millions of copies.
The mode of action of SARS-CoV-2 can be considered a “genius”, according to the Washington Post ‘s comment : penetrate into the human body and before humans have symptoms, they reproduce quickly and spread to other people.
They cause harm, devastate the lungs, cause death in some patients, but only cause mild symptoms in others, so they can always spread.
Researchers are racing to find a cure and a vaccine, but they stand in front of a formidable virus.
Outside “fake death”, the body is activated again
Respiratory virus often enter and reproduce in two places in the body. Either in the nose or throat, where they spread more strongly, or in the lower part of the lungs, where they will be less easily spread but easily fatal.
But the new strain of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus as the two types combined. They live in the upper part of the airway, from which they can easily spread to the next victim after coughing or sneezing. But in some patients, the virus can go deep into the lungs, leading to death.
Thus, SARS-CoV-2 has both the potential for spread of common influenza and the death of its “relative” SARS, which caused an epidemic in Asia in 2002-2003.
But unlike SARS, SARS-CoV-2 has a lower death rate. In turn, symptoms will manifest less, longer than SARS. Thus, an infected person with SARS-CoV-2 often spreads it to others before he or she is infected.
In other words, SARS-CoV-2 has enough stealth to spread to the whole world.
The virus that are responsible for the most dangerous epidemics in the past 100 years: the 1918, 1957 and 1968 influenza, SARS, MERS and Ebola. Like the corona virus, the viruses all have animal origin, all encode genetic material in the RNA chains.
Outside the host’s body, such RNA viruses are often “inactive”. They have no signs of life such as metabolism, movement or reproduction. And they can “sit still” so long.
SARS-CoV-2 usually degrades for a few minutes or hours outside the host, but some particles may still be able to spread longer – such as 24 hours on the surface of the cover, or even to Three days on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.
In 2014, a virus that froze for 30,000 years, discovered and revived by scientists, could still infect an amoeba (a form of unicellular life).
On – off between live and not live
After entering the host, they use proteins to surround themselves to “unlock” and invade cells, then use intracellular mechanisms to assemble the necessary material and then continue doubling.
“They seem to have the ability to turn on and off between living and not living,” Gary Whittaker, a professor of virology at Cornell University, told the Washington Post . He described the virus as a hybrid of chemicals and biology.
The coronavirus strains such as SARS-CoV-2 are one of many families of RNA viruses. Among RNA virus, coronavirus are larger in size and have more complex mechanisms.
One of these “preeminent” mechanisms includes the “error proofing” proteins, which allow the coronavirus to correct errors during its replication. As a result, they reproduce faster than normal bacteria, but still do not duplicate the error and then “die prematurely”.
The general adaptability helps pathogens adapt to new environments, spread from one species to another. Scientists believe that SARS originates from bats and spreads to humans through the plow sold in the market. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can also now be derived from bats, and is thought to infect humans through intermediate hosts.
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Fight SARS-CoV-2 with the immune system and antiviral drugs
nce inside a cell, the virus can replicate 10,000 on its own within hours. After a few days, the infected person will have hundreds of millions of virus molecules in just a few drops of blood.
The strong proliferation of the virus makes the immune system counterattack, secreting chemicals. Increased body temperature, causing fever. Leukemia “legions” are drawn to the infected area. These reactions make people sick.
Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at John Hopkins University, compared the virus to a vandal.
He comes into your home, eats your food, uses your tables and chairs, and gives birth to 10,000 babies. “Destroy the house,” he said.
The battle between the virus and the immune system is extremely fierce, the surrounding cells are “plagued”.
Unfortunately, people do not have many ways to combat these bandits.
Currently, for bacteria, most antibacterial drugs work by interfering with the mechanism of the bacteria. For example, penicillin, the world’s most popular antibiotic, will “block” the type of molecule bacteria use as a cell wall.
Thanks to that, penicillin had a miraculous effect when it was brought to the front during World War II, fighting thousands of bacteria. In addition, human cells do not use this type of molecule, so we can safely use penicillin.
But viruses are different from bacteria. They do not have their own machinery and cells, so they work through human cells. Their protein is also human protein. Drugs that can kill viruses will also harm us.
For this reason, antiviral drugs often have to be “targeted” in a very specific and accurate manner, according to virologist at Stanford University Karla Kirkegaard.
Antiviral drugs need to target the proteins that the virus needs to use during copying. These proteins are specific to each virus, meaning that the virus is difficult to use for other viruses.
Worse, because the virus evolves quite quickly, if scientists find a cure, it is also unlikely to have a lasting effect. That’s why scientists have to constantly develop new drugs to treat the HIV virus, and why patients must take a “cocktail”, that is, mix a few antiviral drugs, to treat at the same time. several virus variants.
“Modern medicine must constantly keep up with the virus variants,” Ms. Kirkegaard said.
Particularly SARS-CoV-2 is still a question mark. Although the behavior of this strain differs from its cousin, SARS, there does not seem to be a difference between the surrounding spiny protein outside SARS-CoV-2 and SARS.
Understanding these proteins is key in vaccine development, according to Alessandro Sette from the La Jolla Immune Institute in California.
Previous research on SARS has shown that the protein surrounding SARS is what triggers the immune system to respond. In a study published this week, Sette showed that the same holds true for SARS-CoV-2.
More SARS-CoV-2 resembles SARS, the more optimistic the scientific community
That brings optimism, Sette said, because it shows that the current direction of scientists is targeting proteins to study vaccines is right. Specifically, if a person is exposed to a version, the body will be “trained” to identify and respond earlier.
“As such, the new strain of coronavirus is not so ‘new,'” Sette said.
Another positive point is that if SARS-CoV-2 is not much different from the SARS relative, it means that SARS-CoV-2 does not evolve too quickly. This gives scientists time to develop the vaccine and catch up.
In the meantime, the best weapon we have against coronavirus is community health measures, such as testing and maintaining social distance, along with diligent “gatekeepers”. our own immune system, says Kirkegaard from Stanford University.
Some scientists are even more optimistic about one thing: the virus itself.
Despite the mechanism of “genius” and effective, even potentially lethal, “viruses do not really want to kill us. (If not fatal) then it will be better for them, better for the virus number, when we are still healthy, ”according to Ms. Kirkegaard.
Experts say that, from an evolutionary perspective, the ultimate goal of the virus is to spread but only mildly affect the host – making an unwelcome but polite “guest” instead of a name ” vandalism “. The reason is that if the host dies as much as SARS or Ebola, the virus will no longer have a host to spread.
Virus are not fatal, only minor harm is the kind that can exist forever. A 2014 study found that the virus that causes herpes sores (cold sores) has existed with humans for 6 million years. “It was a very successful virus,” said Ms Kirkegaard.
If viewed from such an evolutionary perspective, the new strain of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 seems to be quite “innocent” when spreading and causing many deaths, without knowing that there is another “softer” way for long-term survival, the Washington Post comments.
But over time, the viral RNA will gradually change. Maybe one day, not far, it will become one of the common seasonal flu strains, emerging every year, making us cough, sneeze, but nothing more serious, according to the Washington Post .
- WHO updates mask recommendations
Now they are advised to wear not only sick.
WHO Director-General Tedros Hebreyusus, at a new briefing on COVID-19, announced new recommendations for the prevention of coronavirus. Here are the main points:
- Doctors and other medical staff should always wear masks, regardless of whether they work with infected coronavirus infections or not.
- People over 60 years of age, as well as those who have chronic diseases, are advised to wear masks wherever it is impossible to maintain physical distance.
- The governments of the countries should encourage the wearing of masks in any places where it is impossible to maintain physical distance, especially for public transport and shops.
- Those with symptoms similar to coronavirus infection should stay at home. All who contacted him should be quarantined.
- If a sick person or someone who has contacted him needs to leave the house, he must wear a mask.
- WHO considers masks to be of high quality, which consist of three layers of different materials or more.
Previously, the WHO spoke only about the need to wear masks for patients who were ill, because there was insufficient data (apart from clinical studies, which many experts consider to be of little relevance to real life).
- WHO recorded 106,000 new infections globally in 24 hours
The WHO recorded 106,000 infections in 24 hours, a record day since the outbreak, with two-thirds of these cases recorded in only 4 countries.
Tedros Adhanom-Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), said on May 20 that the number of coronavirus infections reported to the agency in the past 24 hours has been higher than at any time since outbreaks, according to CNN.
“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” Tedros said at a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland. “In the past 24 hours, 106,000 cases have been reported to WHO – the highest daily level since the outbreak.”
“About two-thirds of these cases have been reported in only four countries,” he added.
According to WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, confirming with CNN via email, these four countries are the US , Russia, Brazil and India.
It should be noted that there may be a delay in reporting the number of cases at various points in the process, so the above date record does not mean that these 106,000 people were infected, tested or statistically counted in the last 24 hours.
According to the constantly updated data of John Hopkins University, the world has recorded nearly 5 million cases of coronavirus, of which more than 326,000 people have died. The United States remains the leading country in both cases – more than 1.5 million, and deaths – more than 93,000.
Notably, Russia has recently become the second country in the number of cases – more than 308,000, although only a few weeks earlier did not even make the top 20 of the list. Brazil also climbed rapidly in the ranking, ranking third in the number of cases – more than 271,000.
Russia is ranked second in terms of deaths – more than 35,000, followed by Italy – more than 32,000, France – more than 28,000, Spain – more than 27,000.