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posted by martyb on Saturday February 01 2020, @03:40AM   Printer-friendly
from the It-seems-the-only-sure-way-to-avoid-getting-the-virus-is-to-give-up-breathing. dept.

Multiple Soylentils have submitted stories regarding the 2019-nCoV coronavirus which is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan, China in December 2019. Rather than have a smattering of stories appear on the site, they have been gathered here in one story. Read on if you are interested; otherwise another story will be along presently.

How Does Coronavirus Spread and How Can You Protect Yourself?

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/01/coronavirus-spread-protect-200130115539072.html:

The 2019-nCoV coronavirus spreads from person to person in close proximity, similarly to other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu.

The disease can be transmitted through sneezing or coughing, which disperses droplets of body fluids such as saliva or mucus.

According to scientists, coughs and sneezes can travel several feet and stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes.

These droplets can come into direct contact with other people, or can infect those who pick them up by touching surfaces on which the infected droplets land, or touching a surface and then their face.

It is not yet know how long the virus can survive on surfaces, but in other viruses the range is between a few hours or months.

Transmission is of particular concern on transport, where droplets containing the coronavirus could pass between passengers or via surfaces like plane seats and armrests.

The incubation period of the coronavirus, the length of time before symptoms appear, is between one and 14 days.

Though not yet confirmed, Chinese health authorities believe the virus can be transmitted before symptoms appear.

This would have major implications for containment measures, according to Gerard Krause, head of the Department for Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection.

"It's unusual for respiratory diseases transmissible even before the first symptoms have occurred," he told Al Jazeera.

"But the consequences is that if it happens then they have no public health means sort out or to identify people at risk of transmitting, because they don't even know that they're ill yet."

[...] In terms of self protection and containing the virus, experts agree that is important to wash hands thoroughly with soap; cover your face when coughing or sneezing; visit a doctor if you have symptoms and avoid direct contact with live animals in affected areas.

While face masks are popular, scientists doubt their effectiveness against airborne viruses.

They may provide some protection to you and others, but they are loose and made of permeable material, meaning droplets can still pass through.

Some countries, such as the UK and Nigeria, have advised people travelling back from China to self-quarantine for at least two weeks.

China coronavirus: Beijing confirms use of anti-HIV drugs at some hospitals

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3047667/china-coronavirus-beijing-confirms-use-anti-hiv-drugs-some

Beijing's government announced on Sunday that some of the city's hospitals are giving patients infected with the Wuhan coronavirus medication used to treat HIV, part of efforts to stop the spread of the deadly illness.

"Online rumors say that an anti-Aids drug has been used and proved to be effective in treating the coronavirus," according to a statement by Beijing Municipal Health Commission. "The National Health Commission has recommended the rumored names to treat the coronavirus before and we have Lopinavir/Ritonavir in stock in Beijing,"

Three Beijing hospitals designated to treat confirmed coronavirus cases – Beijing Ditan Hospital, Beijing Youan Hospital, and No 5 Medical Center of PLA General Hospital – have begun using this therapy for treatment, the statement added.

The two drugs are antiretrovirals, which block the ability of HIV to bind with healthy cells and reproduce, and are often used in combination to treat the illness.

Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to HIV-1 gp120 and Gag

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.01.30.927871v1

Abstract:

We are currently witnessing a major epidemic caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019- nCoV). The evolution of 2019-nCoV remains elusive. We found 4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses. Importantly, amino acid residues in all the 4 inserts have identity or similarity to those in the HIV- 1 gp120 or HIV-1 Gag. Interestingly, despite the inserts being discontinuous on the primary amino acid sequence, 3D-modelling of the 2019-nCoV suggests that they converge to constitute the receptor binding site. The finding of 4 unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV, all of which have identity /similarity to amino acid residues in key structural proteins of HIV-1 is unlikely to be fortuitous in nature. This work provides yet unknown insights on 2019-nCoV and sheds light on the evolution and pathogenicity of this virus with important implications for diagnosis of this virus.

Copyright:
The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license.

A preprint of the entire journal article is available as a pdf.

Previously:
Coronavirus Declared a Global Health Emergency by World Health Organization
Plague Inc. Maker: Don't use our Game for Coronavirus Modeling
In The Pipeline: Coronavirus
China Battles Coronavirus Outbreak: All the Latest Updates
Coronavirus: Millions Quarantined in Wuhan City
China Confirms Human-To-Human Transmission of New Coronavirus; CDC Confirms First US Case
China Reports 3rd Death, Nearly 140 New Cases of Coronavirus
Thailand Quarantines 32 Due to MERS Case
Coronavirus Breakthrough: Protein Mutation Affects Spread and Virulence of Respiratory Virus


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2Original Submission #3

 
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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01 2020, @03:19PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01 2020, @03:19PM (#952341)

    Can you explain the mechanism where a virus spontaneously mutates to contain key characteristics of a virus from a completely different family?

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday February 01 2020, @05:56PM (3 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday February 01 2020, @05:56PM (#952414) Journal
    When they attack similar protein targets, for example.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01 2020, @08:47PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01 2020, @08:47PM (#952489)

      I want to be clear, I'm not taking any sides on this. I don't know enough about this to make any claims.

      Your answer is really not a good response. Different viruses with different genetic sequences may attach to the same antigens. To claim that huge DNA strands evolved independently of one another enough to form similar sequences from different original sequences just to match the same angiten doesn’t really refute the argument.

      Also the antigen being attacked can’t cause the virus to form a specific DNA strain. The DNA strain has to randomly mutate and be selected for.

      Even if target similarity does account for the genetic similarity just the fact that both strands attack similar antigens could be evidence that the similar targets were inherited from a similar ancestral virus. Without more context (expected mutation rates, expected DNA similarity vs target similarity expectations, etc…) it’s hard to make that determination.

      I’m not saying I know, I don’t, but your answers aren’t really that informative either.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01 2020, @09:12PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 01 2020, @09:12PM (#952498)

        Other information that would be useful would be expected target variability and the expected relationship between target variability vs DNA variability. Presumably mutations that would be selected for would be those that would help the virus evade the immune system so it would be those that change the proteins that the immune system targets (not necessarily the ones that change the antigen the virus targets). Does the immune system tend to target the same antigens that the viruses uses to attack its host (would it. If not why not)?

        What's the expected genetic and protein variability between viruses that have changed their proteins to evade the immune system vs ones that changed their target antigen (what's the genetic/protein relationship with respect to variability between the proteins that the virus attacks vs the ones that it changes to avoid getting attacked).

        Without more information it's hard to draw any strong conclusions.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 04 2020, @05:35PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 04 2020, @05:35PM (#953666) Journal

        To claim that huge DNA strands evolved independently of one another enough to form similar sequences from different original sequences just to match the same angiten doesn’t really refute the argument.

        In what way doesn't it refute the argument? Parallel evolution is a thing. And this is viruses with limited RNA/DNA. They don't have a vast number of ways to evolve. They don't evade the same antigens, get into similar cells, and reproduce in very similar ways, they're gone. To do these tasks, they need a lot of similar encoding.

        Even if target similarity does account for the genetic similarity just the fact that both strands attack similar antigens could be evidence that the similar targets were inherited from a similar ancestral virus. Without more context (expected mutation rates, expected DNA similarity vs target similarity expectations, etc…) it’s hard to make that determination.

        So what? That ancestral virus could be a billion years ago. The assertion was that similar (and not all that similar!) genetic strands couldn't possibly come from nature. I mention instead a reason why that could happen. Now, we're going to do the argument from ignorance fallacy why? Get some evidence.