How many strains of the coronavirus are there, the culprits of the Covid-19 pandemic?
The term "coronavirus" refers to many viruses that infect birds and mammals, including humans. This virus first appeared in China in December 2019
This virus is named corona because of spikes’ appearance like a crown; this is from the Latin word.
Two coronavirus pandemics broke out in the world
There are hundreds of coronaviruses, but currently, only seven viruses that cause direct harm to humans worldwide have been recorded. As follows:
MERS-CoV, a beta virus that causes acute respiratory syndrome in the Middle East (epidemic MERS)
SARS-CoV, a beta virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (epidemic SARS)
SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19
The first four alpha and beta viruses cause symptoms such as a cold and sore throat. The other three corona types cause more severe complications.
Join more about these viruses us to learn
SARS-CoV is a virus that causes particularly serious Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) reliable sources, the first human cases appeared in southern China in November 2002.
According to experts, the source of SARS-CoV infection probably originated from bats and was transmitted to other animals before infectious to humans.
During the 2002-2003 outbreak, more than 8,000 people in 26 countries were infected with SARS. There were 774 deaths according to WHO statistics.
Fortunately, the epidemic was averted in mid-2003 by implementing infection control measures such as quarantine and quarantine. Since then, very few SARS infection cases have been reported, most of them due to errors in laboratories.
Currently, there are no reported cases of SARS transmission in the world. However, if the virus reappears, it could pose a significant threat to humanity.
MERS-CoV is a virus that causes Respiratory Syndrome in the Middle East (MERS). According to WHO, this virus appeared in September 2012 in Saudi Arabia.
Camels are believed to be the primary source of infection. Humans will become infected with MERS when they contact infected camels and continue to infect people from person to person.
Since 2012, 27 countries have reported more than 2,400 cases of MERS infection. To date, the majority of conditions have been found in Saudi Arabia.
In 2015, an outbreak in South Korea resulted in 186 cases, 36 deaths. According to CDCTrusted Source, this outbreak originated from a traveler returning from the Middle East.
According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC), there have been more than 200 cases of MERS-CoV reported in 2019.
Health authorities around the world continue to monitor MERS cases.
SARS-CoV-2 induces COVID-19. This new type of coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019 after health officials noticed pneumonia spike cases without an unknown cause.
These infections all originated in a wildlife market in Wuhan. Although the virus can be developed from animal sources, the exact source has not been confirmed.
Within a few months, SARS-CoV-2 has spread to hundreds of countries worldwide after being transmitted by direct person-to-person contact.
The virus will continue to mutate.
Coronaviruses have all sorts of genetic conductors in something called RNA (ribonucleic acid). RNA is quite similar to DNA, but actually, these are two different things.
When a person is infected with a virus, they attach to cells, enter inside and make copies of RNA that help them spread. If there is a replication error, the RNA is changed. These are the so-called mutations.
These changes happen randomly and by accident. That's a normal part of what happens to viruses as they multiply.
Because these mutations are random, they may not affect human health. But not always will be so lucky, sometimes they will cause serious illness. Mainly if the virus is spread between person-to-person by contact, it is even more dangerous.
Currently, the health sector is working hard to study vaccines to prevent the coronavirus from spreading utterly. Until the vaccine is officially approved, wearing a mask and avoiding crowds is still the best way to protect yourself against the Covid-19 pandemic.