Coronavirus in a nutshell

The starting of December 2019 is marked as the emergence of coronavirus that resulted in an international outbreak of respiratory illness. A virus is given the term COVID-19, presently named as Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV2). The Virus is one of the RNA viruses and is enveloped in nature. It was first identified from Wuhan, China which then transmitted across the borders, and WHO immediately, had to declare it as a public health emergency of international concern.

Coronavirus COVID-19

How is coronavirus transmitted?

The initial cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 were related to the direct exposure to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market of Wuhan. The animal to human transmission. Later, the transmission was seen from human to human as well.

The researchers conclude that the viruses transmit by the mode of fluids in the respiratory system (such as mucus).

The spread of coronavirus is most potent in the following cases:

– Droplets while coughing and sneezing.

– Coming in physical contact (touching/ shaking hands) with patients.

– Contact with the objects having the virus and later touching the nose, eyes, or mouth.


What are the symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19?

As per CDC, children are not at much risk of COVID-19. The higher risk groups include pregnant women, people with obesity, diabetes, severe lung disease, serious heart conditions, and a relatively weak immune system.

The incubation period of coronavirus varies from 2-14 days. The symptoms of COVID-19 can be listed as:

– Cough

– Difficulty in breathing

– Fever

– Headache

– Weakness

– Potential loss of smell or taste

– Sore throat

– Runny nose


What are the variants of coronavirus till now?

The change in the genes of the virus commonly termed mutation results in the variants. As the nature of viruses, coronavirus also mutates and changes over time. There are several variants reported to date which we will discuss shortly here.

  1. Alpha (B.1.1.7): The First Variant of CoronaVirus

– Occurs by a mutation on the spike protein of the virus.

– First noticed in people of Southeastern England with 70% more transmissibility.

– Weak shreds of evidence for the enhanced risk of death.


  1. Beta (B.1.351):

– Seen in countries including South Africa and Nigeria.

– Easily spread with fewer chances of causing worse illness.


  1. Gamma (P.1):

– Spotted in January 2021 from the people of Brazil who returned from Japan, seen in the US by the end of that month.

– More transmissible than other strains with a potential of infecting people already infected by COVID-19.


  1. Delta (B.1.617.2):

– First reported from India in December 2020, and raised cases in mid-April 2021.

– A ruling strain in U.S. and U.K., highly transmissible in nature.

– Total of 178 countries are already infected by this variant.


  1. Mu (B.1.621):

– In January 2021, it was reported from Colombia, and South America and Europe listed the outbreaks of Mu since then.

– Pose less threat than other variants.

– WHO labeled it as a variant of interest in August 2021.


  1. R.1. : The recent variant of Coronavirus

– First spotted in various countries along with Japan.

– In March 2021, it resulted in an outbreak in Kentucky Nursing Home, when an unvaccinated health care worker transmitted it to about 45 other staff and residents.

– Labeled as variant under monitoring by WHO in April 2021.

The label “variant of concern” is given to alpha, beta, gamma, and delta as per WHO. WHO is monitoring other variants such as Epsilon, Theta, and Zeta.

Also, read

Booster Shots of the COVID-19


Is Omicron more transmissible?

  1. Omicron (B.1.1.529):

– Latest variant was reported on November 11, 2021, in Botswana and is now the dominant strain in the U.S.

– The sudden rise in the cases of coronavirus again became a topic of concern, which led to the discovery of this new variant.

– Labeled as a “variant of concern”  by WHO suggesting that the variant might spread rapidly, possibly can cause serious illness, and not respond to vaccines or other medication.

– In comparison to other variants, it is supposed to have higher chances of re-infection.

– Till now studies suggest it is less likely to cause any serious infections.


Read about New variant of Coronavirus Omicron


No matter what the variant may be, the risk is generally higher for people who are not vaccinated yet, so it is best to get vaccinated as early as possible. Wearing a mask when in public and maintaining social distance is necessary. Frequent washing of hands and avoiding the touch in the face is effective as well. Being self-aware and making others aware is a way to get through coronavirus COVID-19.


post credit @ Bhawana Samal a Biotech Master Student


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