On February 11, 2020, UN(United Nations) health agency, the WHO(World Health Organization) has officially renamed Coronavirus as ‘COVID-19’ [“co” stands for “corona”, “vi” for “virus” and “d” for “disease”, while “19” was for the year, as the outbreak was first originated in China’s Wuhan area in December 2019].Key Points:
i.Earlier the WHO had given temporary name for the virus as”2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease” & China’s National Health Commission named it as”novel coronavirus pneumonia” or NCP.
ii.The new name had been picked to avoid references to a specific geographical location, animal species or group of people and was pronounceable and related to the virus.
iii.The WHO has cited the corona virus spreading in China as a serious threat to the world. In China, the number of people who lost their lives due to this mysterious virus has crossed 1,000 & So far, more than 42, 000 people have been found infected. The virus has spread to at least 25 countries of the world including Wuhan, the capital of the same province.
iv.Many companies and institutions in Australia, Britain, China, France, Germany and the United States (US) are trying to develop the vaccine for the coronavirus virus.
Wild mammal pangolin suspected as coronavirus host
According to the researchers at South China Agricultural University, pangolin, an endangered, scaly, ant-eating mammal that is imported in huge numbers to Chinese markets for food and medicine,is believed to be the cause of coronavirus infection in Wuhan,China.
Until now,it was believed that bats and snakes were the cause of coronavirus infection.
i.As per Chinese researchers, the metagenome sequence of the coronavirus strain separated from pangolins was 99 % same to that from infected people,which shows it may be a potential intermediate host of the virus.
ii.Why the demand for pangolin in China: According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which conserves natural resources, the pangolin is the world’s most trafficked creature & is stolen and smuggled from the forests of Asia and Africa. They are sold exclusively in China and Vietnam markets. Medicines are prepared from their scales on the body and the remaining meat is sold in the black market as meat.
It is large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. This virus transmits between humans and spread more rapidly leading to death.
Symptoms: Coronaviruses symptoms range from common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
About World Health Organisation (WHO):
Founded– 7 April 1948.
Headquarters– Geneva, Switzerland.
Director General– Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.