Coronaviruses correspond to a group of viruses belonging to the Coronaviridae family. It is responsible for respiratory infections that may be mild or severe enough, depending on the coronavirus responsible for the infection.
Most coronaviruses do not infect people or cause disease. However, there are two types, which were associated with severe respiratory diseases, or SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, responsible for the Severe Respiratory Syndrome and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome respectively.
Recently, another type of coronavirus named COVID-19 was identified and is related to respiratory diseases in China. The scientists identified this virus in Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the United States.
Coronaviruses can be transmitted from animals to people. The virus happens most frequently but can also be transmitted from person to person as the case of COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to those of the flu in the case of viruses transmitted from animals to people. Gastrointestinal symptoms may also appear.
Types of Coronavirus
7 types of coronaviruses are known, which are:
Type COVID-19 (Coronavirus of China)
This type of coronavirus was first identified in China. There are already reported cases of infection with this type of coronavirus in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, the United States, and Canada. There is not much information about this type of coronavirus yet. However, it also causes serious respiratory infection. The virus can cause respiratory failure and cause death as it occurs the SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV viruses.
It was found people, who went to wild animals’ market in Wuhan of China, were infected by the virus. Other people, who came in contact with sick people, were also infected with this virus. The coronavirus of the type COVID-19 is also transmitted from person to person. The virus spreads through the inhalation of respiratory drops and direct contact without proper precautions with infected people.
Types 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1:
Normally, these types are associated with common colds and are responsible for mild respiratory diseases. Those are naturally fought by the immune system itself. These types of viruses are transmitted from person to person. The virus causes the appearance of typical symptoms of the common cold or mild pneumonia, depending on the activity of the person’s immune system.
SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV types:
These types are associated with serious respiratory infections. The virus is normally necessary for the person to be hospitalized for monitoring and thus prevent complications. The coronavirus is transmitted from animals to people. For this reason, it ends up triggering a more serious immune and inflammatory response, resulting in more complicated complications and symptoms.
Also, the severity of infection by these viruses may be related to the person’s immune system. The matter is more common to arise in people who have a compromised immune system due to diseases such as HIV or cancer treatment. For example, mainly in the case of the MERS-CoV virus.
The first case of MERS-CoV infection was in Saudi Arabia in 2012. However, the virus was easily transmitted to other countries in the Middle East.
The first described case of SARS-CoV infection was in 2002 in Asia. The virus was then associated with a severe respiratory infection. It could spread rapidly among the population through the small drops released into the air through the cough and sneeze of infected people.