Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The new, or “novel” coronavirus, now called 2019-nCoV, had not previously been detected before the outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China in December 2019. This new strain is from the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) but it is not the same virus.

As with other respiratory illnesses, infection with 2019-nCoV can cause mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as, diabetes and heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Detailed investigations have revealed that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans in China in 2002 and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. As surveillance improves around the world, more coronaviruses are likely to be identified.

It’s likely that an animal source from a live animal market in China was responsible for some of the first reported human infections. The 2019-nCoV causes respiratory disease and can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household workplace, or health care centre.

The incubation period is the time between infection and the onset of clinical symptoms of disease. Current estimates of the incubation period range from 1-12.5 days with median estimates of 5-6 days.

People with 2019-nCoV infection, the flu, or a cold typically develop respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose. Even though many symptoms are alike, they are caused by different viruses. It seems that this strain of coronavirus is more likely to cause difficulty breathing due to developing pneumonia besides cough, fever common to the Flu and other virus induced respiratory illnesses.

Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the novel coronavirus. However, those infected with 2019-nCoV should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation and will be tested through clinical trials.

Stay aware of the latest information on the outbreak, available on WHO website, and take care of your health by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty. Washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub eliminates the virus if it is on your hands.
  • Maintain social distancing – maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.


CNN: (2/3, Lamotte) reports the study of 30,000 people published in JAMA Internal Medicine “found a small but significant risk of death from any cause tied to eating two servings of processed meat or unprocessed red meat each week.” Moreover, a three-to-seven percent increased in risk of cardiovascular disease was “found for those eating two servings a week of processed meat, unprocessed red meat or poultry – although that last category might be due to frying or the consumption of skin, researchers said.” Meanwhile, “there was no association for eating fish, the study found.” One serving is equal to 4 ounces.


Reuters (2/5 Rapaport) reports that “people who eat an egg a day are no more likely than those who rarely eat eggs to have high cholesterol, heart attacks and strokes or to die prematurely, a large study” published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests. Lead author Mahshid Dehghan said, “Previous studies on egg consumption and diseases have been contradictory because most of these studies were relatively small or moderate in size and did not include individuals from a large number of countries.” Reuters says “the new study included 177,000 people from 50 countries on six continents.”


Reuters: (1/29, Rapaport) reports a study of 921 adults over 80 followed for six years found that participants who consumed the most “flavonols were about half as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who consumed the least.” The researchers focused on “four flavonols in particular: kaempferol, which is found in kale, beans tea, spinach and broccoli; quercetin, in tomatoes, kale, apples and tea; myricetin, also in tea, as well as wine, kale, oranges and tomatoes; and isorhamnetin, in pears, olive oil, wine and tomato sauce.” The findings were published in the journal ‘Neurology.’