nCoV: An Emerging Respiratory Infection


(Vincent Ghilione, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Rehab A. Rayan, an Ashoka change-maker scholar, a PhD candidate from Egypt  in public health,
epidemiology major and a clinical pharmacist holding a PharmD certificate. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Infections keep evolving and challenging population health. For instance, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) emerged in 2002, H1N1 influenza emerged in 2009, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in 2012 and the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has recently emerged in 2019.

The health of animals and mankind, as well as the environment, are inseparably connected. About 70-80% of emerging and re-emerging communicable illnesses are of zoonotic linkage, in other words, they could be communicated among man and animals. The altered climate change, the expanding population, the greater urbanism, and the worldwide migration and travelling altogether spike the danger of evolving and propagating airway infections.

Coronaviruses are a big class of viruses, which induce sickness spanning between the common cold toward higher critical illnesses, for example, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).  In 2019, a new coronavirus (CoV), which has not been distinguished in people before, was recognized in Wuhan, China.

Coronaviruses induce illness as well in a variety of animal species. For instance, in China, SARS-CoV was communicated between civet cats and man in 2002 and in Saudi Arabia, MERS-CoV between dromedary camels and man in 2012. Many of the recognized coronaviruses are running in animals and have not yet transmitted to the man. A spillover event is when a virus, which is running in an animal species is discovered to have been communicated to a man.

Coronaviruses could be communicated from one individual in close contact with another, for instance, providing clinical care to an infected patient in the absence of rigorous measures of hygiene, individuals in close contact with animals, for example, workers in the live animal market, healthcare providers or members of the family who are caring for an infected patient by the emerging coronavirus.

To protect yourself from the infection, you should: clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub, cover your mouth and nose with a medical mask, tissue, or your sleeve or flexed elbow while coughing or sneezing, keep off unsafe close contact with all those who have a common cold or flu-like symptoms and ask for medical help if you are feverish, coughing and hardly breathing, During attending live markets, stay away from direct unsafe contact with live animals and surfaces touched by animals and cook your meals particularly meat adequately.


[1] WHO. Emerging respiratory viruses, including nCoV: methods for detection, prevention, response and control. Geneva, Switzerland: 2020.

[2] Jones KE, Patel NG, Levy MA, Storeygard A, Balk D, Gittleman JL, et al. Global trends in emerging infectious diseases. Nature 2008;451:990–3.

About the author

Rehab is an Ashoka change-maker scholar, a PhD candidate in public health,
epidemiology major and a clinical pharmacist holding a PharmD certificate. She is
currently working as an assistant lecturer in the pharmacy practice department, College
of Pharmacy, AASTMT. She has participated in several international conferences with
research abstracts & scientific posters. In addition, she is also an associate editor at
NovelMeds and a peer reviewer at URNCST Journal and a researcher in several
international organizations. Rehab is also a certified GIZ trainer, certified Egyptian
Health Informatics Fellow  professional trainer in the Health Informatics Fellowship program.

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  1. Asmaa Ali says:

    That’s a great article. We’re waiting for more articles.

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