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Here we want to give you basic information regarding the SARS-CoV-2 virus or Covid-19.
This page is also updated regularly, provided that new and confirmed knowledge is available.
SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus. This belongs to the family of coronaviruses (Nidovirales). This type of virus has been known since the mid-1960s. They owe their name to their appearance; when viewed under a microscope, these viruses look like a sun corona, reminiscent of a crown or a wreath, thanks to their club-like spikes (peplomers).
Corona viruses are particularly noteworthy because they are genetically highly variable and therefore can relatively easily cross the species barrier and thus infect several types of hosts.
At present, 7 coronaviruses, which can also affect humans as hosts, are known (human pathogenic).
Covid-19 is the disease that triggers the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The course of the disease can be quite different, from symptom-free, mild symptoms to a necessary hospitalization on a normal. or intensive care unit. In some cases, the disease ends fatally.
The symptoms are similar to those of flu.
Cough, sore throat, loss of smell and / or taste, often accompanied by fever and pain in the lungs accompanied by shortness of breath.
Fatality or fatality rate is the percentage of fatal course of the disease.
The risk groups of older patients or people with previous illnesses are particularly affected here.
R0 or. R(eff)
Often you get to read the so-called R0 or R (eff) in media reports.
This specifies the number of reproductions of the transmissions (The number of times the virus is transmitted from an infected person to a non-infected person).
The R0 represents the number that allows the virus to spread without any measures. This number can be reduced by restrictions such as "social distancing", this is called the R (eff). The eff stands for effective.
Epidemic / Pandemic
WHO has declared a pandemic regarding SARS-CoV-2, but what does that actually mean?
A basic distinction is made between epidemic and pandemic.
An epidemic is an outbreak of a viral disease that is localized to a region, while a global spread is called a pandemic.
According to current knowledge, there are various ways of transmission: droplet infection and smear infection.
According to current knowledge, droplet infection is the basic transmission path. Droplets that are released into the air through coughing, sneezing, speaking or breathing are inhaled by other people.
Smear infection: Although the droplet infection is the far more common variant of infection, the smear infection should not be neglected entirely. The virus can survive on different surfaces for different lengths of time, and through contact with contaminated surfaces, it can be transferred to the skin. Since the surface of the skin is a porous, living organ and the viruses can survive here for a particularly long time, it can subsequently become contagious if you drive into your face, especially to the nose or mouth.
The tests can be divided into two groups.
One is the so-called PCR method (Polymerase Chain Reaction), which detects the RNA of the virus. For this purpose, the samples are treated with an agent and made fluorescent, which makes the sample glow. Depending on the color of the reaction, the test is either positive or negative. The disadvantage of the old method, however, is that the test cannot differentiate between intact RNA strands and fragments of viruses that have already died (after the disease).
The newer RT-PCR tests work similarly, but here the RNA is converted into DNA by means of an enzyme, reproduced in several cycles until it is increased beyond a detectability limit and then according to certain gene sequences scanned, which are typical for SARS-CoV-2 and are only known from this Virus.
The advantage of this method is that cross-reactions with other viruses are practically impossible, the disadvantage that the reproductive cycles need a certain time and thus a certain time elapses before a result is available
There are also various rapid tests, which, however, do not come close to the accuracy of the RT-PCR test and differ in sensitivity but also in specificity. The accuracy of these tests is therefore very dependent on the prevalence.
Antibody tests: These tests are used specifically after an illness or are used to determine whether the immune system has produced antibodies. In this way it can be determined long after the illness whether someone was sick with Covid-19. Whether, and if, for how long someone is immune to re-infection with the pathogen after an illness is not yet 100% certain.
Medicines / Vaccinations
The pharmaceutical companies are currently working flat out to develop an effective drug for the treatment of Covid-19 and a vaccine against the pathogen SARS-CoV-2.
Different experiments give hope, but it is not yet possible to say when the first drugs or vaccines will be approved and come onto the market. As soon as there is new knowledge in this regard, this will be announced here.
In the wake of the pandemic, governments around the world have taken various measures. The palette ranged from no restrictions to a complete lockdown of the whole country.
It is difficult to determine which measures worked and how, because there were often a whole series of actions and the changes in the number of cases can therefore not be limited to a single step. There are also striking differences both in the health care system and in the demographics of the countries and regions.
Here is a list of different measures:
- Social Distancing
- Travel restrictions or warnings
- Border closings
- Nose mouth masks
- Recommendation for frequent hand washing
- Recommendation for frequent disinfection of hands and surfaces
- Visitation restrictions or bans in retirement and nursing homes, hospitals, etc.
- school closings
- Short-time work
- Home Office
- Tracing apps
- and more...
Controverial topic: protective masks
Basically, the masks can be differentiated into masks that protect yourself and those that protect others.
Masks that protect you yourself must be subject to a certain minimum standard. At least masks of class FFP2, or even better FFP3, reduce the risk of infection of the wearer. However, these masks do not protect the environment, only you.
This standard is not required for the masks that governments sometimes prescribe to wear. These simple nose-and-mouth covers are only intended to intercept the droplets that are secreted by sneezing, coughing or speaking. These get stuck in the tissue of the masks, only aerosols with reduced viral load get through, which significantly minimizes the risk of infection for others.
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