What is Coronavirus?
This is a new virus that causes a respiratory illness in people and animals and can spread from person-toperson through sneezing and coughing droplets. This virus has signs and symptoms similar to the common cold but is dangerous and if not reported early and managed by Health Workers it can cause severe illnesses in humans and can lead to death.
Where did Coronavirus come from?
There are ongoing studies on the origins of Coronavirus. However, the current outbreak started in a large animal and seafood market in China, in a city called Wuhan.
How does Coronavirus spread?
Initially, the virus was believed to be spread to humans through contact with infected animals. Currently, transmission is human-to-human. It occurs when an infected person’s sneeze or cough droplets come into contact with others.
Who is at risk of contracting Coronavirus ?
Everyone is at risk. However, severe symptoms and death appear more frequently among older people. People with underlying health conditions such as lung or heart diseases, renal failure or weak immune systems are noted to be at a higher risk of infection.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
The full clinical presentation of the disease is still under investigation. However, most patients who have been seen so far present with:
• Sore throat
• Shortness of breath
How can Coronavirus be prevented?
There are simple everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of the virus:
• Avoid close contact with people who are visibly sick with flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, sneeze).
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Stay home when you experience these symptoms to avoid spreading illness to others.
• The sick are encouraged to use a face-mask to cover the nose and mouth.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the dustbin and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and running water.
• Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces such as door handles and phones.
Is there a vaccine to prevent or cure a person from Coronavirus?
Yes there are now several vaccines that are in use. The first mass vaccination programme started in early December 2020 and the number of vaccination doses administered is updated on a daily basis here. At least 13 different vaccines (across 4 platforms) have been administered.
The Pfizer/BioNtech Comirnaty vaccine was listed for WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) on 31 December 2020. The SII/Covishield and AstraZeneca/AZD1222 vaccines (developed by AstraZeneca/Oxford and manufactured by the State Institute of India and SK Bio respectively) were given EUL on 16 February. The Janssen/Ad26.COV 2.S developed by Johnson & Johnson, was listed for EUL on 12 March 2021. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA 1273) was listed for EUL on 30 April 2021 and the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine was listed for EUL on 7 May 2021. The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG). The Sinovac-CoronaVac was listed for EUL on 1 June 2021.
For further information, see here.
WHO is on track to EUL other vaccine products through June.
The products and progress in regulatory review by WHO is provided by WHO and updated regularly. The document is provided here.
Once vaccines are demonstrated to be safe and efficacious, they must be authorized by national regulators, manufactured to exacting standards, and distributed. WHO is working with partners around the world to help coordinate key steps in this process, including to facilitate equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the billions of people who will need them.
When will COVID-19 vaccines be ready for distribution?
The first COVID-19 vaccines have already begun to be introduced in countries. Before COVID-19 vaccines can be delivered:
The vaccines must be proven safe and effective in large (phase III) clinical trials. Some COVID-19 vaccine candidates have completed their phase III trials, and many other potential vaccines are being developed.
Independent reviews of the efficacy and safety evidence is required for each vaccine candidate, including regulatory review and approval in the country where the vaccine is manufactured, before WHO considers a vaccine candidate for prequalification. Part of this process also involves the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety.
In addition to review of the data for regulatory purposes, the evidence must also be reviewed for the purpose of policy recommendations on how the vaccines should be used.
An external panel of experts convened by WHO, called the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE), analyzes the results from clinical trials, along with evidence on the disease, age groups affected, risk factors for disease, programmatic use, and other information. SAGE then recommends whether and how the vaccines should be used.
Officials in individual countries decide whether to approve the vaccines for national use and develop policies for how to use the vaccines in their country based on the WHO recommendations.
The vaccines must be manufactured in large quantities, which is a major and unprecedented challenge – all the while continuing to produce all the other important life-saving vaccines already in use.
As a final step, all approved vaccines will require distribution through a complex logistical process, with rigorous stock management and temperature control.
WHO is working with partners around the world to accelerate every step of this process, while also ensuring the highest safety standards are met.
Is there treatment for Coronavirus ?
There is no specific antiviral treatment. However, people who have been infected should immediately, seek medical care to help relieve symptoms and manage complications.
How to manage someone with Coronavirus at home?
The best place to manage a sick person with Coronavirus infection is in the hospital. However, if the patient is still managed at home you should:
• Place the patient in a well-ventilated single room and provide the patient with a face-mask.
• Limit the number of caretakers of the patient to only one person who is in good health.
• Wash hands with running water and soap following all contact with sick persons or their immediate environment.
• Avoid direct contact with body fluids, particularly oral or respiratory secretions or stool of the patient.
• Avoid sharing toothbrushes, eating utensils, dishes, drinks, towels, washcloths or bed linen with the sick person.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs/handles, bedside tables, bedframes, and other bedroom furniture daily with regular household disinfectant or soap.
• Clean and disinfect bathroom and toilet surfaces at least once a day with regular household disinfectant or soap.
• Persons with symptoms should remain at home until their symptoms are resolved based on either clinical and/or laboratory findings.
• All household members should be considered contacts and their health should be monitored.
• If a household member develops symptoms of acute respiratory infection, including fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing, follow the steps above.