As it is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, this article is devoted to the latest scientific research in relation to the SARS-CoV-2 (Corona virus) & COVID-19.
Research suggests the corona virus does spread in those without symptoms of the illness.
Research conducted at the University of Texas2 have identified how quickly the corona virus spreads between one infected person to another. Based on these findings it suggests that in 10% of people who become infected with the virus, are from people who had no signs or symptoms.
From reviewing the spread of the disease in China researchers were able to determine the serial interval of the virus. The serial interval of a virus is the time it takes for symptoms to appear in one person who infects a second person, and the symptoms to appear in that second person. The study determined this time period to be 4 days which in epidemic terms, is extremely short.
The findings of this review provide a good understanding of the emerging outbreaks and why self-isolation (in reasonable circumstances) is enforced. People may not know they are able to infect others without symptoms.
As there are more reports of infected people globally, the conclusions of this research might change. As infection case reports are reliant on people’s memories of where they were and who they contacted which might not always be 100% reliable.
However, the fact that the corona virus is thought to transmit silently in some cases does provide rationale for the current recommendations in place.
Study reveals the corona virus enters lung cells through a protein (TMPRSS2) found in the body
A study performed in Germany1 and published in Cell found the corona virus can enter lung cells using a protease in the body called TMPRSS2. As a drug called camostat mesilate is already available – which stops this protease from working – it is anticipated that this will be effective at halting the virus before it does any damage to the lungs.
Further clinical trials are needed to support this finding, but it does provide some hope that therapies for coronavirus are not far away.
The corona virus is stable for 2 -3 days on certain surfaces
We know that the corona virus spreads over short distances in the air from person to person, and from touching surfaces where the corona virus in lingering.
A study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious disease3 has now identified how long the virus lives on particular surfaces. There is no surprise that stainless steel and plastics are the worst offenders! Here is what the researchers found on how long the corona virus stays stable on various surfaces:
- Aerosols 3 hours
- Copper 4 hours
- Cardboard 24 hours
- Plastics and stainless steel 2-3 days
So, with silent transmission of the virus – infections from those with no symptoms – and the amount of time that the corona virus can hang around on contaminated objects, it is little wonder that it is spreading swiftly.
The advice of washing hands your hands diligently, avoiding close contact with others and not touching your face (nose, lips or eyes) is not without due cause. If you do need to have close contact with others, then don’t fret, just take the measures that you can. I am sure whatever you are doing is highly worthy and important for this situation so hats off to you and thank you!
Markus Hoffmann, Hannah Kleine-Weber, Simon Schroeder, Nadine Krüger, Tanja Herrler, Sandra Erichsen, Tobias S. Schiergens, Georg Herrler, Nai-Huei Wu, Andreas Nitsche, Marcel A. Müller, Christian Drosten, Stefan Pöhlmann. SARS-CoV-2 Cell Entry Depends on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 and Is Blocked by a Clinically Proven Protease Inhibitor. Cell, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2020.02.052
Zhanwei Du of The University of Texas at Austin, Lin Wang of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, Xiaoke Xu of Dalian Minzu University, Ye Wu of Beijing Normal University and Benjamin J. Cowling of Hong Kong University also contributed to the research. Lauren Ancel Meyers holds the Denton A. Cooley Centennial Professorship in Zoology at The University of Texas at Austin.
Neeltje van Doremalen, Trenton Bushmaker, Dylan H. Morris, Myndi G. Holbrook, Amandine Gamble, Brandi N. Williamson, Azaibi Tamin, Jennifer L. Harcourt, Natalie J. Thornburg, Susan I. Gerber, James O. Lloyd-Smith, Emmie de Wit, Vincent J. Munster. Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1. New England Journal of Medicine, 2020; DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973
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