Sunday, February 2, 2020

Is there a cure for coronavirus, the new threat to human life?

It is truly worrying if something as common as cold or cough could ultimately lead to death. That's what a new strain of the coronavirus, called novel coronavirus, or nCoV, is doing to humans. The virus first surfaced in a Chinese city called Wuhan in December 31, 2019. Ever since then the virus has spread around China and outside China, as infected people travelled from one place to another and infecting other people.

Other strains of the virus are responsible for diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV), besides the more common respiratory tract infections like cold and cough.

What is a coronavirus?
It is a family of different types of viruses. There are four types of them: alpha, beta, gamma and delta. Alpha and beta infect only mammals, like bats, pigs, cats, and humans. Gamma infects birds especially poultry, while the delta variety infects both birds and mammals. The first type of coronavirus was discovered in 1960s, and since then we knew six of them. The type that has been discovered in Wuhan now is the seventh one.

Why is it called coronavirus?
It is called so because the virus has crown-like spikes that also look like the corona (or the outer surface) of the sun.

Coronavirus attacks which part of human body?
Coronavirus affects the respiratory system.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
Common cold, running nose, difficulty to breath, fever.

Any cure for coronavirus?
So far none. There are no medicines or vaccines. Patients are treated for the symptoms they show.

Does garlic kill or reduce the effect of coronavirus?
Can coronavirus be cured with taking boiled garlic water?
There is no scientific proof yet of garlic either killing the new strain of the coronavirus or reducing its effect. But it is a fact that garlic does have many good health benefits, like antioxidant properties, improving blood circulation, and reducing levels of cholesterol. This strain of the virus itself is new. It will take time for researchers to find a cure or a vaccine. There might be anecdotal evidences of patients showing improvement in their condition after taking garlic, or something similar food that has health benefits. But that doesn't qualify as a cure or a medicine.

What kind of indigenous medicine is suitable for coronavirus eradication?
As of now, there is no medicine -- indigenous or any other type -- for coronavirus. Patients are being treated for the symptoms they show.

Can coronavirus be deadly in Indian climatic conditions?

There is nothing conclusive so far to show that people in a particular geographical region is more or less prone to contracting the coronavirus. The 99% of the cases is in China. The rest 1% is spread across all the continents, except Africa.

What precautions one must take?

Wherever we are, we must make sure that we maintain good personal hygiene, keep away from people who have cold, cough or fever; and avoid being in crowded places and travelling in crowded public transport.

Is it safe to travel to Bali from India now due to coronavirus outbreak?

There is no harm in travelling to Bali or anywhere, from India or from anywhere. To say "don't travel", is being alarmist, and it's not the right approach. What is important is to take adequate precautions. (See the answer above.)

Will we get coronavirus if we eat fish or other non-vegetarian food?

Humans first contracted coronavirus from animals in China. But it's safe to eat non-vegetarian food. Only ensure it is properly cooked.

Is it safe to drink cow's milk safe? Will we get coronavirus?

It's safe to drink cow's milk. But ensure it's properly boiled.

What is the incubation period for the coronavirus?
Incubation period is the time taken for symptoms of a disease to surface after the person has been exposed to a virus or bacteria. It's currently 2 to 10 days. However, it's advisable to be under observation for at least two weeks.

Will I be quarantined at airport if I fly with cough, cold and fever?
Very difficult to say. But there is a high possibility that you might be quarantined if you have been to China or you have been around with people who were China.

How many days a person survive after effected from coronavirus?
It varies depending on the immunity levels and general health of the individual.

WHO - Health topics / Coronavirus
WHO - Q & A on Coronavirus
CDC, US - Types of coronaviruses
WHO - Situation Report
EU - Geographic distribution of coronavirus


  1. Hi Pradeep - I read that there's a British scientist working in southern California, who specialises in viruses and who is working flat out to find a remedy, or some help ... it's a challenge - take care - cheers Hilary

  2. Thanks, Hilary. I am sure sooner than later a medicine or a vaccine will be developed to fight this new strain of the coronavirus.

  3. I had a student the other day (Thursday) who said he was sure he had coronavirus when he was out sick. (We're in southern California. That he caught it is highly unlikely.) The paranoia is real.

  4. Yes, Liz. Here too, anyone with acute cold and cough is worried if it's coronavirus.

  5. Excellent post! I have halted my visits to the crowded YMCA gym for now. Locals act surprised at my every mention. ~shakes head~ I pray their ignorant bliss is never shattered. On that note, we need to stock up on some essentials (purified water, iodized salt, shelf stable foods, and the like). If infection does reach our quiet suburb it could cause panicked masses to clean out area grocery stores. That is the ongoing recommendation by Youtube commentator Styxhexenhammer666. Don't let his irreverent moniker mislead you. ~grin~ He's a very smart guy. Be well and stay healthy!

  6. Hi, Pradeep - Thank you for sharing this post. I lived in Beijing, China for fourteen years (2001 - 2015). Many of my friends still live and work there. It is a very difficult (and frightening) situation, currently with no easy answers.

  7. Thanks for this, Pradeep. I wonder if I would even realise I had the virus (just speculating here), as I have allergies that constantly present in sneezing, coughing and a runny nose. However, your points are very useful for self protection and we shouldn't be alarmist either. One other point is that having Coronavirus is not necessarily a death sentence. Tragically people have died and are dying still, but the proportion of deaths is still relatively small compared to the number of reported cases, although this could increase.

  8. Hi Darla - It's better to be cautious and take safety precautions. I hope and pray that the infection does subsides, and there aren't any loss of lives.

    Hi Donna, Thanks for dropping by. Hopefully, a medicine is found soon.

    Hi Vallypee, I agree with you regarding the death rate. It's actually not high as the scare portrays it to be. Actually, Ebola infection in Africa was/is more dangerous, and I think people are still getting infected by it.

  9. Hi Pradeep - This virus has certainly shaken things up all over the world. Australia closed it's borders last weekend to flights from China - which caused problems for a lot of foreign students who've been stranded at the beginning of a new educational year. There's also been a quarantine facility set up for those who've been evacuated from the Wuhan area - so it's definitely been taken very seriously.

    BTW if you'd like to email me about doing a guest post (I'm up to April/May dates for new guests) then my email address is in the BLOGGING section of my If we were having Coffee post that you commented on. Flick me an email and I'll let you know what I need.
    Cheers - Leanne

  10. Population multiplies not in proportion with the area of earth. So nature itself adopts some grave methods to explode the population expansion.

    1. Hi Sarla -- While we science and technology are making advances, on the other side, there are newer and newer challenges for science.