Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a virus closely related to the SARS virus. SARS-CoV-2, was identified in China at the end of 2019 and is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals but some of them are also known to affect humans. After they have infected animals, they can eventually be transmitted to humans.
Once the virus develops in people, coronaviruses can be spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. This is a technical name for the wet stuff that moves through the air when you cough or sneeze.
The viral material hangs out in these droplets and can be breathed into the respiratory tract (your windpipe and lungs), where the virus can then lead to an infection. Time from exposure to onset of symptoms is generally between 2 and 14 days.
How to Treat Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
There’s currently no treatment specifically approved for the 2019 coronavirus, and no cure for an infection, although treatments and vaccines are currently under study. Instead, treatment focuses on managing symptoms as the virus runs its course.
Seek immediate medical help if you think you have COVID-19. Your doctor will recommend treatment for any symptoms or complications that develop.
Since there is no specific treatment for this disease, the approach used to treat patients with coronavirus-related infections is to treat the clinical symptoms (e.g. fever, difficulty breathing). Supportive care (e.g. supportive therapy and monitoring – oxygen therapy, fluid management and antivirals) can be highly effective for those infected.
- antiviral or retroviral medications
- breathing support like mechanical ventilation
- steroids to reduce lung swelling
- blood plasma transfusions