The virus has spread quickly across the globe since it originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019, leaving thousands dead and hundreds of thousands of people infected.
Many countries closed their borders and asked the citizens to stay at home to prevent the virus from spreading.
There is little known about covid-19, the name of the coronavirus-caused infectious disease.
What’s known is that Sars-CoV-2 is a part of an old virus family.
Old acquaintances Coronaviruses are an ancient and extensive family of viruses and the latest addition is Sars-CoV-2.
They are called coronaviruses because there are crown-shaped tips on the virus surface.
Before the outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019 both the new virus and covid-19 disease were unknown.
Coronaviruses can cause illness in both humans and animals.
Several coronaviruses in our species are known to cause respiratory infections, ranging from the common cold to more serious diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sras or Sars in English), the Organization explains. World Health. World Health.
But how many coronaviruses are there?
“In bats and birds there are innumerable types of coronaviruses,” says Joel Wertheim, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (USA).
But not all coronaviruses infect humans and many of them produce only a common type of cold.
Wertheim is one of the authors of the Journal of Virology’s 2013 study “A Case for the Ancient Origin of Coronaviruses,” reporting that the most recent common ancestor of these viruses is about 10,000 years old, but it is likely that the earliest versions of coronaviruses have been around for millions of years.
“We can’t say exactly how old they are, but they’re precious old ones. They’ve probably been in contact since birds and bats exist and maybe they’re older than they are.