Biology of COVID-19 - Lake Harding Association

Biology of COVID-19

Biology of COVID-19

By Micah Moen 3 Comments March 26, 2020


COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus. Coronaviruses generally cause only common
cold in human. However, occasionally they have caused more
severe disorders like the SARS outbreak of 2002, the MERS outbreak of 2012 or the current
COVID-19 pandemic. So, what do we know about coronavirus and
Covid-19 specifically? Coronavirus is a RNA virus. It carries RNA as its genetic material. The RNA is complexed with a nucleocapsid protein. This complex is surrounded by a lipid membrane. Spike proteins are found on the lipid membrane. Coronavirus derives its name from these crown-shaped
spike proteins. Corona means crown in Latin. These spike proteins play a major role in
infecting host cells. The spike proteins bind to ACE2 proteins on
human cells to enter the cells. The spike protein consists of two connected
halves. These two halves have to be separated before
the virus can enter the host cell. In the SARS virus of 2002, the two halves
didn’t separate easily. However, in the new COVID-19 strain the two
halves are readily separated by the action of enzyme furin, which is abundantly present
in human tissues. This makes the Covid-19 strain more infectious
than the 2002 SARS virus. A recent study showed that the COVID-19 virus
remains in aerosol for up to 3 hours, on copper for up to 4 hours, on cardboard for 1 day
and it remains on plastic and stainless steel for up to 2-3 days. As the virus is highly contagious and robust,
it is important to follow the issued advisories. Person to person contact should be minimized. As the virus remains viable on surfaces for
days, it is safer to stay home. The virus is surrounded by a lipid membrane. Surfactants in soaps dissolve the lipid coat,
killing the virus. This is why washing hands with soap regularly
and thoroughly is such an important weapon in combating the current pandemic. The mortality rate from COVID-19 is low but
the mortality rate is especially high in people above 65 years of age. However, every person has to careful and responsible
irrespective of their age because if the number of cases overwhelms a country’s health system,
the mortality rate will rise. The same thing happened in Italy. There are lessons to be learned from the sad
example of Italy.

3 Comments found

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Nishant Pratap Singh

Good informative video..

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Satya prakash Singh

Great work!

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Pranav Nakhate

Informative…!! Keep it up

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