Written by Rebecca A Rosero, January 2021.
To find any solution, knowing what the problem fully entails is the first step. The problem set forth by the coronavirus can be complicated given its rapid, global spread. However, by implementing proper safety precautions, the spread of the COVID-19 virus can be minimized creating a form of sustainable normalcy. In order to accomplish this, what must first be understood is how the coronavirus functions and what this means for all those interacting with others at home, in the workplace, or any public setting.
Different forms of the coronavirus have been around long before the emergence of COVID-19 in late 2019. The most recent forms were SARS-CoV in 2002 and Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012.1,5 These, as well as the SARS-CoV-2 (cause of the COVID-19 disease), are beta-coronaviruses that have origins in bats.2 Ancestral origins in bats for human coronaviruses, such as HCoV-229E found in the 1960’s, have also been hypothesized.1Therefore, the current novel SARS-CoV-2 seen today is not entirely new given recent human history with coronaviruses of the twentieth and twenty-first century.
So then how does the SARS-CoV-2 virus work? SARS-CoV-2 has short-strand ribonucleic acid (ssRNA) for its genetic material, which is similar to the genetic makeup of the SARS-CoV and SARS-like bat-derived viruses.3,4 To get into the host cell, SARS-CoV-2 uses spike proteins on its surface to bind to ACE2 (Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptors on the membrane of host cells.3 The host cell has machinery which will transcribe its own DNA into mRNA to then be translated into polypeptides (i.e. proteins) for specific uses by the cell. Once inside the host cell, the virus uses the host cell’s replication machinery to translate the viral ssRNA and assemble progeny virions. Lastly, the newly made virus is exported by exocytosis from the host cell to repeat the infection cycle.3
After exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the range typically seen for onset of symptoms signifying infection is between two to fourteen days with a mean incubation period of five days.6 Symptoms can vary in severity including, but not limited to, fever, muscle pain, headache, cough, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell.6,7 Infection by SARS-CoV-2 begins in the upper respiratory tract of the host individual.6 Since the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binds to the ACE2 receptor to gain entry into the host cell, other cells that also carry ACE2 like, endothelial and epithelial cells, neurons, microglia, and lung macrophages, are also susceptible to infection leading to the effects seen on other major organs (i.e. blood vessels, brain, gastrointestinal tract, kidney, heart, and liver).6 Given the wide range of effects and organ system damage that results from a SARS-CoV-2 infection, protection from this virus is paramount.
The next questions to ask are, how easily can SARS-CoV-2 spread and what are the best measures to implement for protection? Because the virus can be found in respiratory droplets from a contaminated individual, infection can spread rapidly from person-to-person by coughs, sneezes, talking without proper face coverings, and hand-to-mouth-to-eye contact.6 This does not limit the ability of getting infected by coming in contact with contaminated surfaces and enclosed spaces where the infected droplets may linger in the air.6 Therefore, wearing protective face masks properly (e.g. covering nose and mouth), staying six feet apart, washing hands and disinfecting touched surfaces often, and avoiding poorly ventilated spaces are effective ways to reduce the chances of contamination with SARS-CoV-2.8 With the development of current vaccines and others soon to follow, this could be another measure to add for precaution.
Prior to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that changed the world as we knew it, the SARS-CoV epidemic in 2002 ended by implementing health safety precautions, similar to what is being done currently, to stop the spread of infection.1 This shows that there is hope to find a way to manage and possibly end the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Now knowing the problem at hand, solutions can be discovered to make a way to a better future. One such solution is offered by TrustPass, which provides a way to easily manage your wellness including health related to COVID-19. With TrustPass, testing for SARS-CoV-2 antigens and Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is easily verified and tracked, paving a way to normalcy. As already seen with previous viruses and the novel SARS-CoV-2, emergence of new viruses is nothing new and will most likely continue to occur. Nevertheless, as the world continuously changes, we can discover solutions that will provide a way to thrive in whatever the future holds.
1 Hu et al. 2015. Bat Origin of Human Coronaviruses. Virology Journal, (2015) 12:221, DOI. 10.1186/s12985-015-0422-1
3 Hatmal et al. 2020. Comprehensive structural and molecular comparison of spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and their interactions with ACE2. Cells, (2020), 9,2638; doi:10.3390/cells9122638
4 Satija, N., Sunil, K.L. 2007. The molecular biology of SARS coronavirus. PMC, (2007) 1102(1):26-38.
5 V’kovski et al. 2020. Coronavirus biology and replication: implications for SARS-CoV-2. Nat Rev Microbiology (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41579-020-00468-6
6 Machhi et al. 2020. The Natural History, Pathobiology, and Clinical Manifestations of SARS-Co-V-2 Infections. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. (2020), DOI: 10.1007/s11481-020-09944-5