Premium Currently known facts about SARS-CoV-2
 (previously 2019-nCoV)


In December 2019 there was a cluster of pneumoniae cases in the Chinese city of Wuhan (pop. approx. 11 Mio). It initially affected a group of people with pneumoniae who had been associated with people at a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan. This market was then closed on the 1st of January in 2020. In the meantime, the disease spread to other countries.


© Jo Panuwat D –

Several studies showed that all cases originated from a previously unknown virus, initially named “2019-nCoV”. „n“ stands for novel, which means this „new“ Coronavirus had not been detected before. The WHO has now named it SARS-CoV-2 and the disease is called Covid-19.

In this article I will take a brief look about what is currently known about the virus and the disease. Please keep in mind that, because this is a new virus, all information presented today is rather preliminary and in the future additional (or even contradictory) findings will complete the clinical and biological picture on SARS-CoV-2.

What do we know about the virus?

Coronaviruses are a large group of genetically related viruses. They were first discovered in the mid 1960s. The viruses can infect humans as well as various birds and mammalsdie Säugetiere.

The virus consists of a core of genetic material surrounded by an envelope with protein spikes, which gives the virus the appearance of a crowndie Krone. Hence the name: the Latin word for crown is Corona. Different types of coronaviruses cause various diseases. The diseases can range from a simple cold to pneumonia. In most people the symptoms tend to be very mild.

However, there are some types of coronaviruses that lead to respiratory diseases, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms. In the worst cases, people may develop the potentially lethal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS, first identified in Saudi-Arabia, in 2012) or the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, first identified in China, in 2003).

Where does the virus come from?

It is known that coronaviruses circulate in a wide range of animals. Sometimes a transferdie Übertragung from animals to humans occursvorkommen, auftreten. The origins of some other coronaviruses have been identified, but the source of SARS-CoV-2 is not known yet.

How is it transmittedetw. übertragen?

The exact way that the virus is transmitted has yet to be determined.

In general, transmission occurs via dropletsdas Tröpfchen, e.g. when an infected person coughshusten or sneezes, or via virus-contaminated surfaces: however, the last case is very uncommon and not provenerwiesen for SARS-CoV-2. Fecal-oral infection is also not proven, but the virus can be detected in stoolder Stuhl (Fäzes) samples. To a very limited extentetw. ausdehnen, asymptomatic people (people who show no symptoms) can transmit the virus to other people.

People are most at risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 when in close contact with animals, e.g. live animal market workers. Also, health care workers are at a high risk of infection.

What symptoms develop?

There can be several symptoms, from mild to severe. The mortality rate is not yet known because the number of infected people is still increasing from day to day. Mainly, people have been infected in China, but initial cases have been diagnosed in various countries. Similarly, the number of casualties is still increasing.

The symptoms of Covid-19 include:

  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • cold
  • cough (dry)
  • fatiguedie Müdigkeit
  • muscle pain
  • some people develop diarrhoea
  • pneumoniae
  • kidney failureder Fehler
  • for older people, or people with severe primary diseasesdie Grunderkrankung, Covid-19 can be fatal.

Caution advised.

How to diagnose the disease?

Usually the diagnosis is performed using a PCR (detection of the virus RNA) on a respiratory swabder Abstrich.

How can you protect yourself and others?

  • Cover your mouth and nose while you are coughing and sneezingniesen with your flexed elbow, tissuedas Papiertaschentuch (which you should throw away immediately) or even with a medical mask. Keep some distance (about 1–2 m) to other people.
  • Avoid the contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based disinfection agent.
  • Avoid unprotected contact with animals.
  • Ensure that animal products get thoroughly cooked before you consume the meal.
  • If you don’t feel well, stay at home.
  • Seek medical care immediately, if you have any of the above symptoms.

What about the incubation time?

It is currently assumedetw. annehmen to be 14 days.

What treatments are available?

What can be helpful? Because this is a new virus, there are no specific treatments. Usually, only the symptoms are treated. There are treatments and vaccines in development, scientists are working very hard on it. However, at the time of this article, neither vaccination serum nor specific pharmaceuticals are on hand. Some reports indicate at least 18 months will be needed to develop a vaccine.

Who must be informed about an infection?

There is a notification requirement because of the „Coronavirus- Meldepflichtverordnung“. Physicians or any laboratory that discoveretw. entdecken, or even suspect, SARS-CoV-2 must report it immediately (within 24 h) to the „public health department“. It has to be reported with the name, address and contact dates of the infected person and also those of all people who had contact with the patient.



1. How does SARS-CoV-2 get transmitted?

a. through droplets
b. through intercourse
c. intravenous

2. There is a notification requirement for Covid-19.

a. True
b. False

3. Coronaviruses can not be transmitted from animal to humans.

a. True
b. False

You’ll find the answer on:





Carmen Lobitz ist freie Trainerin, Lehrerin und MTA. Sie gründete 1998 in Berlin lobitz seminare, die unter anderem Englischseminare für Health Professionals anbieten.


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