Coronavirus, or COVID – 19, is a respiratory illness that is spread from person to person contact. It was first identified and originated in Wuhan, China in 2019. The risk of infection by this virus is higher for people who come into contact with someone who has Coronavirus (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. It may also be spread by touching an infected surface and then touching one’s own mouth, nose, or eyes. Those with Coronavirus will experience mild to severe respiratory illness with other symptoms that include:
This disease can also come with serious complications that can result in hospitalization such as the development of pneumonia, organ failure, and even death. More than two months have gone by since the first reported case of this illness was reported here and Coronavirus is quickly spreading throughout the United States with over 492,000 confirmed cases thus far and over 18,000 deaths. In the world, there are over 1.7 million confirmed cases and over 100,000 deaths.
The short answer is, no, there is no vaccine as of yet. There currently is no specific treatment or vaccine for coronavirus, however different treatment and vaccines are currently being studied. Most treatments available focus on treating the symptoms involved with the illness as it runs its course.
Phase 1 of a clinical trial for a vaccine specifically designed to protect against the coronavirus has begun though. This trial has enrolled 45 healthy adult volunteers ranging in ages from 18-55 years old to participate in this trial over the next 6 weeks. According to the NIH:
The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supported the manufacturing of the vaccine candidate for the Phase 1 clinical trial.
This study is meant to evaluate different doses of this vaccine and its capability to produce an immune response in the volunteers. This vaccine was created using a genetic platform known as mRNA (messenger RNA). It guides the body’s cells to direct a virus protein that is hopefully able to elicit an immune response. This vaccine was able to be quickly developed due to previous studies from related coronaviruses that also cause acute respiratory syndrome in patients.
During this time of crisis, it is important to know all the steps you can take to lower your risk for exposure to the coronavirus. It is also good to know how it spreads so you know best how to protect yourself. The best way to protect yourself is by:
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