The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Need to find therapeutic solution

Dhruv Kumar ,  Associate Professor, Amity Institute of Molecular Medicine and Stem Cell Research, Amity University

The Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) has already shaken the whole world, crushed the world economy, collapsed many industries around the globe. It has already killed more than 5000 people and thousands of people are recovering from the infectionaround the globe. In this current situation, it is very important to prevent the spread of this Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to find therapeutic solutions to save thousands and millions of people around the world.

The Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), which exploded from Wuhan, China has now travelled to whole world. The first case of COVID-19 was reported in the month of December 2019(WHO Coronavirus), and because of its rapid spread, World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak as a Global Health Emergency.Most of the International Health Organisations, including WHO, American Health Organisation, Indian Health Organisation and other government and private health organisations are working round o’clock to prevent the spread of the infection and treat patients of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

TheNovel Coronavirus (COVID-19)is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA ((+)ssRNA) virus.The major part (70 to 80 per cent) of the RNA translatesinto RNA synthesis materials, viral polymerase, large non-structural polyproteins(Coutardet al.). The remaining 20 to 30  per cent of the genome portion codes for four structural proteins, Envelope (E), Membrane (M), Nucleocapsid (N),andSpike (S), and the other proteins(Corman et al.; Lu et al.). Earlier, it has been reported that the variation around the cleavage site of the viral envelope glycoprotein plays critical role in cellular pathogenesis. The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission happensmainly via respiratory droplets from sneezes & coughs within a range of about 1 to 1.5meter distance, and in close contact with the infected person. The infection can also spread through the indirect contact via contaminated surfaces. The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) RNA can be detected from induced sputum, throat swabs, blood and stool samples of infected patients.The sequencing report of COVID-19 outbreak shows close genetic sequence similarity to the bat coronaviruses, from which it is likely originated. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid sequence collected from the patients of Yunnan province shows 96 per cent similarity withthe viruses isolated from Rhinolophusaffinis (bat) (Poulter; Chan et al.; Li et al.; Zhou et al.). A group of researchers from Guangzhou, China, also reported the 99 per cent similarity of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence withthe viral nucleic isolated from pangolin (Cyranoski).These reports suggest the potential link of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in humanfrom the bat or pangolin.

Since the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new outbreak and not very well studied, the sign and symptoms of this viral infection are still under debate. Whereas, based on the previously reported cases and clinical observations, the World Health Organization (WHO) has set the clinical symptoms parameters which can determine whether anyone is suffering from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) or not.The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) infected individual appears to develop fever, cough, weakness, shortness of breath, respiratory symptoms, breathing difficulties, pneumonia, kidney failure, which may even lead to the death. However, the common signs and symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are similar to the influenza infection, but the fraction with severe disease appears to be different(Lu et al.; Wu et al.). As reported, the incubation period of this Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)in human is between 1 to 14 days. The symptoms appear after 6 to 10 days of Coronavirus infection, depending on the immune response of the individual against infection (Gu and Korteweg). Based on the published data and the report published by WHO suggest that only 5 to 10  per cent infections are critical and required emergency care, whereas around 80 per cent cases are mild which doesn’t require extra care, most of them recover naturally.The detection of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be done in three steps, 1) Screening of patients based on common symptoms of Coronavirus, 2) Determination of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) RNA through Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), 3) Final confirmation of COVID-19 is done through Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). It is observed that the infection rate of COVID-19 is higher than influenza infection and it is critical in case of elderly people and the people with weaker immune system (Donnelly et al.).

However,researchers and clinicians are trying very hard to develop therapeutic as well preventive solutions for this outbreak, until now there are no licensed therapies (FDA approved) or vaccines are available for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Currently, there are several clinical trials (NCT04285801, NCT04293692,NCT04304313,NCT04292730, NCT04307693, NCT04275947, etc.) are under progress to develop therapeutic andpreventive solutions forthe Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). In the current situation, it is very important to keep immunity level upand try not to get exposed to the Coronavirussince the vaccination and therapies against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are not available.

References

Chan, Jasper Fuk Woo, et al. “A Familial Cluster of Pneumonia Associated with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Indicating Person-to-Person Transmission: A Study of a Family Cluster.” The Lancet, vol. 395, no. 10223, Elsevier Ltd, 2020, pp. 514–23, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30154-9.
Corman, Victor M., et al. “Detection of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-NCoV) by Real-Time RT-PCR.” Euro Surveillance : Bulletin Europeen Sur Les Maladies Transmissibles = European Communicable Disease Bulletin, vol. 25, no. 3, 2020, pp. 1–8, doi:10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2020.25.3.2000045.
Coutard, B., et al. “The Spike Glycoprotein of the New Coronavirus 2019-NCoV Contains a Furin-like Cleavage Site Absent in CoV of the Same Clade.” Antiviral Research, vol. 176, no. February, Elsevier, 2020, p. 104742, doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2020.104742.
Cyranoski, David. “Did Pangolins Spread the China Coronavirus to People?” Nature, no. February, 2020, pp. 4–7, doi:10.1038/d41586-020-00364-2.
Donnelly, Christl A., et al. “Epidemiological Determinants of Spread of Causal Agent of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Hong Kong.” Lancet, 2003, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(03)13410-1.
Gu, Jiang, and Christine Korteweg. “Pathology and Pathogenesis of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.” American Journal of Pathology, 2007, doi:10.2353/ajpath.2007.061088.
Li, Qun, et al. “Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia.” New England Journal of Medicine, 2020, pp. 1–9, doi:10.1056/nejmoa2001316.
Lu, Roujian, et al. “Genomic Characterisation and Epidemiology of 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Implications for Virus Origins and Receptor Binding.” The Lancet, vol. 395, no. 10224, Elsevier Ltd, 2020, pp. 565–74, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30251-8.
Poulter, Neil. “Lower Blood Pressure in South Asia? Trial Evidence.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 382, no. 8, 2020, pp. 758–60, doi:10.1056/NEJMe1917479.
WHO Coronavirus. Https://Www.Who.Int/Emergencies/Diseases/Novel-Coronavirus-2019/Events-as-They-Happen.
Wu, Joseph T., et al. “Nowcasting and Forecasting the Potential Domestic and International Spread of the 2019-NCoV Outbreak Originating in Wuhan, China: A Modelling Study.” The Lancet, vol. 395, no. 10225, Elsevier Ltd, 2020, pp. 689–97, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30260-9.
Zhou, Peng, et al. “A Pneumonia Outbreak Associated with a New Coronavirus of Probable Bat Origin.” Nature, vol. 2019, no. January, Springer US, 2020, doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7.

Dhruv Kumar

After completion of B.Sc from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and M.Scin Bioinformatics from the University of Allahabad, India, I completed PhD from the School of Biotechnology at University of Bologna (UNIBO), Italy. I have received postdoctoral training from the School of Medicine at University of Kansas MedicalCenter, USA. Currently, my lab works on Molecular Medicine, Drug Designing, Drug Development, Translational Cancer Research and Bioinformatics.