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Coronavirus: 10 reasons why you don't have to panic

Regardless of whether we consider a new coronavirus as a pandemic or not, it is a serious issue. In less than two months, this plague has spread to various continents.

Pandemic means continuous and consistent transmission of the disease simultaneously in more than three different geographical areas. Pandemic does not mean how deadly a virus is but more to the distribution and its geographical additions.

What we definitely get is the pandemic of fear. Media from around the world are fixed on coronavirus. There has been deep thinking and mass planning for the worst scenarios. And of course, the impact is propagating from the global healthcare world into politics and business.

But it is certainly true that we should not panic. It would be wrong to say that there is good news coming from COVID-19, but there are reasons to be optimistic because there may be a way to ward off and defeat this virus. And the lessons can be used for the future.

1. We already know the illness

The first cases for AIDS occurred in June 1981 and it took more than two years to know the virus (HIV) that caused the disease. For the COVID-19, severe cases of pneumonia were reported in China on 31 December 2019 and on 7 January 2020 the virus had been successfully identified. The viral genome is already available on the tenth day.

We already know that there is a new coronavirus coming from the 2B group, from the same viral family as the SARS that we named SARS-CoV-2. The disease is called COVID-19. Previously thought to be associated with coronavirus coming from bats, but genetic analysis has confirmed that there is a new natural proposal (between late November and early December) and that, although the viruses live by mutating, their levels of mutability will likely not be too high.

2. We know how to detect the virus

Since January 13, a test to detect the virus has been available.

3. The situation has improved in China

Strong control and isolation actions from China are already fruitful. For the next few weeks, the number of cases diagnosed every day decreases. A very detailed advanced epidemiology is being implemented in other countries; Plague spread is very specific in some areas, which makes it easier to control.

4.80% Case Lightweight

The disease does not cause symptoms or in medium/mild scale in 81% of cases occurring. Of course, 14% can cause severe pneumonia and 5% can be critical or even fatal. But it is still unclear how the rate of death. It could be lower than the current estimate.

5. Many people can heal

A lot of data shows an increase in the number of positive cases and the number of deaths, but most infected can heal. There are 13 times as many cases heal when compared to death, and this proportion increases.

6. Symptoms less noticeable for children

Only 3% of the cases occur in people under 20 years, and the mortality rate for those under 40 years old is 0.2%. The symptoms are less noticeable in children so it can be undetectable.

7. The virus can be wiped clean

The virus can be effectively shut off from surfaces using ethanol fluid (alcohol 62-71%), hydrogen peroxide (0.5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach), within just a minute. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is also the most effective way to avoid transmission.

8. Science is in depth in the world

Today is the age of international science working together. In just a month, 164 articles can be accessed on PubMed for COVID-19 or SARS-Cov-2, as well as many articles that have not been reviewed.

They are preliminary studies on vaccines, treatment, epidemiology, genetic and phylogeneology, diagnosis, and clinical and other aspects.

These articles were written by about 700 authors and distributed throughout the world. It is cooperative science, free to share. In 2003 when the SARS epidemic, it took more than a year and a half to reach half the number of the article. In addition, most scientific journals have made free publications to be accessed for coronavirus topics.

9. There is already a prototype vaccine

Our ability to make a new vaccine is spectacular. There are already eight ongoing projects to look for the new coronavirus vaccine. There are groups working on vaccination projects for similar viruses.

A vaccine group from the University of Queensland in Australia, has announced that it has been working on a prototype using a technique called "molecular clamp", an amazing technology. This is just an example that can make future vaccine making faster. This vaccine prototype will soon be tested to humans.

10. An antivirus experiment is ongoing

Vaccines are useful to prevent. Nowadays, treating people who are already sick is important. There are more than 80 clinical trials that analyse coronavirus treatment. It is an antivirus that has been used for other infections, which have been approved and proven to be safe.

One of the anti virus that has been tested in humans is remdesivir, a wide-spectrum anti-virus that is still in research that has been tested against Ebola and SARS/MERS.

Another candidate is chloroquine, an anti-malaria that also has a great power against viruses. We know that chloroquine blocks viral infections by increasing endosome pH, which is required when viruses are fusion/joined by cells, thus blocking the entry path. This content has been shown to block coronavirus in vitro (outside living organisms) and has been used for patients with coronavirus pneumonia.

Other experiments are based on the use of oseltamivir (used against influenza viruses), interferon-1b (proteins with anti-viral functions), antiserum of people who have been cured or monoclonal antibodies to neutralize the virus.

New therapies have been proposed by involving obstructions such as Baricitinibine, which is chosen by artificial intelligence (AI).

The flu pandemic in 1918 led to a death of 25 million people in less than 25 weeks. Will we experience something similar? It doesn't seem; Our preparations have never been so good at combating a pandemic. The Conversation

Ignacio López-Goñi, Catedrático de Microbiología, Universidad de Navarra
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