A new virus has been identified by Chinese researchers which is believed to be responsible for a new pneumonia-like illness that had swept Wuhan since last month. The researchers described the infectious agent as a “coronavirus.”
- Coronaviruses are a specific family of viruses, with some of them causing less-severe damage, such as the common cold, and others causing respiratory and intestinal diseases.
- A coronavirus has many “regularly arranged” protrusions on its surface, because of which the entire virus particle looks like an emperor’s crown, hence the name “coronavirus”.
- Apart from human beings, coronaviruses can affect mammals including pigs, cattle, cats, dogs, martens, camels, hedgehogs and some birds.
- So far, there are four known disease-causing coronaviruses, among which the best known are the SARS corona virus and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, both of which can cause severe respiratory diseases.
- In the newly identified coronavirus, a direct link with the disease has not been established yet.
Source : Indian Express