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The 2019 Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19–An Update
There is a new public health crisis threatening the world with the emergence of the novel coronavirus-19 or COVID-19 in Wuhan, China and its subsequent global spread. It is believed to have originated in bats and transmitted to humans through yet unknown intermediary animals. There have been more than 1 million cases and 50000 deaths till date (3/4/2020). The disease is transmitted through inhalation or contact with infected droplets and the usual incubation period is 5 days (range 2-14 days). The symptoms are mild in most people but 15-20 % of patients (usually the elderly and those with comorbidities) may suffer from severe disease. The case fatality rate is estimated to range between 2-3 %. Diagnosis is by specific molecular tests in respiratory samples. Treatment is essentially supportive. The role of antiviral agents (remdesiwir, lopinavir-ritonavir) and anti inflammatory agents (chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, tocilizumab) is being explored. Prevention at the community level includes hand hygiene, cough etiquette, social distancing, travel restrictions and even lock downs. Strict infection control measures need to be instituted in hospitals to prevent spread to health care workers and other patients.
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