COVID- 19 is the Novel Coronavirus which has emerged as an important paradigm in both research and medical science. Coronavirus is the name attributed to the virus because of its structure, ‘Corona’, i.e. crown.  This virus is not new. But the random mutations in the virus is altering the DNA sequences so frequently that the mutants are in no way similar to that of the wild type. These mutants have the novel capacity of invading and infecting and have high mutational rates. Without knowing the entire genome sequence of COVID- 19, no new drug can be administered and no vaccine can be used. It seems as if this COVID 19 is the most important nanometre-sized particle and the most important topic of discussion, though its size is of the order of the nanometres. It’s awesome to think about how this nanometre-sized particle or nanoparticle is so very strong to kill human beings! 

On the other hand, human beings have become scared of the Novel Coronavirus and are taking several measures to combat these corona particles. The genome size of the corona is approximately 27 to 34 kilobases having single-stranded RNA as its genome enclosed in an envelope rich in lipids. This coronavirus which is a retrovirus can palpably cause infection and shows that this retroviral is sufficient enough to infect mammals and birds since it is zoonotic. 

Our main problem is to combat Coronavirus. So how does this RNA containing virus moves inside our cells, having DNA as its genome, and causing the infection? It is because of the fact that the RNA of the virus needs to be reverse transcribed, forming the complementary DNA (cDNA) by the enzyme reverse transcriptase. This enzyme will convert the RNA of the coronavirus to cDNA. This cDNA then gets inserted into the host DNA, replicating along with the host DNA and causing lysis of the host cell after reaching its burst size, generating a greater number of virions/virus particles, causing reinfection of the same organism or other organisms. In this way, the progeny virions have multiplied to such an extent that in spite of their minute size they can outnumber their host cells and rule over them by causing infection. The emerging viral particles can reinfect its neighbouring hosts and spread in the community. Hosts infected with these viral particles will show several symptoms. We human beings will have upper respiratory tract infection and distress, accompanied by fever and cough. These viral particles are so naughty that they do not fear the host defence mechanisms. They are trying to dominate us. However, before moving directly into the lungs, these viral particles stay for a few days in the throat region. We should be cautious and careful. If we are careful and use hot saline water for gargle, we can combat it that is we can prevent their stay in the throat region and also disallow them to move to the lungs. This may be the easiest tool available to us. 

Nations have suffered a lot as a result of COVID- 19. China is leading the world with the maximum number of cases of COVID- 19 and victims of the same. Italy’s condition is no better. In fact, Italy is the European country having the most Coronavirus victims. In West Asia, Iran has been unable to resist COVID- 19. Almost 8% of Iranian MPs and clerics have been diagnosed with COVID- 19. Unfortunately, more than seventy people’s lives have been claimed by COVID- 19 in Iran.  Over the years, Iran has been diverting most resources towards Defence and National Security, while allotting a paltry amount to health, education and social security. The Government and the private sector have not been able to uplift the health system of the country. Iran has abysmal public healthcare infrastructure and on account of UN and US sanctions, its tensions in the region, it becomes a global pariah and a rogue state to all and its ill- will and troubles with its allies like India, China, Pakistan and North Korea has made its condition very miserable. Further, its harsh laws deter the entry of foreign healthcare workers and medical personnel. Therefore, it fails to receive aid from international bodies or their allies. However, when Iran refused to screen Indians stranded in the country for coronavirus, India despatched a temporary lab, medicines, doctors, healthcare workers and medical personnel to Iran for testing, screening the people for coronavirus, evacuating Indians and foreign nationals from there and later announcing to donate the lab to Iran. Now, Iran has approved the use of advanced Israeli devices and methods to screen Iranians and foreign nationals for coronavirus, quarantining them and ensuring their recovery.In Europe, along with Italy, Spain, France and Germany have reported a huge number of cases of corona virus. The fundamental question is that despite Europe having such a sound public healthcare system, which, many commentators opine, is more advanced than its North American counterpart, how did such a situation arise?

 In the United States, the Trump Administration has declared the outbreak of COVID- 19 as a ‘National Emergency’. President Trump has announced that he would use all the Federal Government’s resources and capabilities to combat the coronavirus in the US. After much reluctance, he has agreed to get himself screened for COVID- 19. He has assigned the monumental task of leading the US response to COVID- 19 to Vice President Mike Pence. However, many critics have questioned President Trump’s decision, in consonance with Vice President Mike Pence’s lacklustre response to the Indiana HIV outbreak in 2014. Ironically, then Indiana Governor Pence was assisted in his response by then Indiana State Health Commissioner, Jerome Adams, who is the current  Surgeon General of the United States. A few days ago, Adams said that people could get themselves screened for COVID- 19 and nobody would prevent them from doing so. However, he opined that the face masks that people were wearing to safeguard themselves against the coronavirus would not be able to protect them in the entirety. He felt that people were wearing them for psychological and mental satisfaction alone.    Use of mask and sanitizer is prevalent to combat coronavirus. Here, it may be added that ethyl alcohol present in the sanitizer will cause the dissolution of the lipid in the viral envelope and will destroy the viral structure. A person suspected of being a victim of COVID- 19 should be quarantined to prevent its spread to the community. Social Distancing is important. COVID- 19 is pandemic and before allowing it to be epidemic, we should safeguard ourselves and the community. 

Author

  • Sauro Dasgupta is pursuing his bachelor's degree in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. He is interested in reading, writing, public speaking and his writings have been published in many important magazines, journals and newspapers.