COVID19 UPDATES: Even with the most effective containment strategies, we are facing difficulties to contain the Corona virus pandemic. The only solution to the current COVID-19 infection seems to be a vaccine. Research centers, pharma companies, educational institutes worldwide are in a race to create a vaccine .
Coronavirus has had other two recent epidemics- SARS( Severe acute respiratory syndrome, China 2002-2004) and MERS( Middle eastern Respiratory Syndrome, Saudi Arabia, 2012). In both these cases , work on the vaccine began but it was later shelved when the epidemic was under control. COVID-19 shares 80-90% of genetic material with SARS virus.
Both consist of a strip of ribonucleic acid (RNA) inside a spherical protein capsule that is covered in spikes. The spikes lock on to receptors on the surface of cells lining the human lung – the same type of receptor in both cases allow the virus to break into the cell. Once inside, it hijacks the cell’s reproductive machinery to produce more copies of itself, before breaking out of the cell again and killing it in the process.
We have hope , as clinical trials have started , the vaccine mRNA-1273 had its first trial on 43 year old Jennifer Haller at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The vaccines will be administered 28 days apart and monitored to evaluate its effectiveness. Sequencing of the COVID19 genome by the Chinese researchers has for sure helped in preparing the vaccine. With the vaccine being a priority lot of research institutes worldwide are working on creating an effective antiviral vaccine.
In this case, the mRNA-1273 COVID19 vaccine doesn’t contain a part of the virus to induce an immune response( as normal viral vaccines have). This vaccine is a mRNA vaccine meaning that it contains small portion of the mRNA that encodes for the viral spike of the Coronavirus. This ensures that the vaccine itself holds no chance of causing a viral infection and has enough genetic material to induce and immune response within the human body to combat the viral infection.
A new initiative or a new trial method for treating the infection as been announced by the New York Government. The U.S Food and Drug administration department supporter this proposal and announced the use of convalescent plasma collected from recovered COVID-19 patients in an attempt to treat the condition. The idea behind this technique being isolation of plasma (from recovered patients) carrying antibodies against the virus and administering the same into critically ill patients. Although studies related to convalescent plasma technique have been done before with SARS, H1N1 and MERS epidemics,this technique although effective doesn’t hold any surety of curing the disease.
Corona Virus attach to specific cell receptor with the help of spike proteins, this triggers a conformational change in the spikes which the mediates the fusion between the the viral and cell membranes which results in the release of the nucleocapsid into the cell .
First the virus synthesizes its RNA polymerase that only recognizes and synthesizes viral RNA. This enzyme then synthesizes the minus RNA strand using the positive strand as template.
Subsequently , this minus strand acts as a template for transcribing the other smaller subgenomic positive RNAs that is used to synthesize other proteins. The protein N binds the genomic RNA and the protein M is integrated into the membrane of endoplasmic reticulum like the envelope proteins S and HE.After binding the nucleocapsid and the twisted RNA bud into the endoplasmic reticulum lumen and are encased within its membrane.
The viral progeny are finally transported by golgi vesicles to the cell membrane where they are exocytosed to the exterior of the cell.
The following image is a chest scan of a coronavirus infected patient. With the current studies and investigation being conducted on the pandemic, CT scan can also be used as a diagnostic tool along with RT-PCR.
COVID-19 can be added to the list of pandemics that has effected the very existence of human race. A disease which started in Wuhan, China and within a span of 3 months compelled mankind to self isolation.
Maybe this is what god wants men to do, isolate itself from nature,so that nature can flourish. We have had news of the earth recovering from the green house effect, pollution decreasing drastically, dolphins coming back to the shores. This is evidence enough that man should not tamper nature.
At this time when the scientific population is trying to find a cure, the very least what we could do is stay at home. Lock down is necessary, or if the infection spreads we wouldn’t even have doctors and nurses left. Act sensibly, be where you are and avoid going out.
BREAK THE CHAIN