Where did SARS-CoV-2 come from?
Scientific consensus agrees that the novel coronavirus is natural — it’s a zoonotic disease, meaning it was transmitted from animals to humans. It’s widely thought that the virus originated in bats, before possibly passing through another mammal that infected a human.
In early February, Nature published a study showing that the novel coronavirus is 96% identical at the whole-genome level to a bat coronavirus.
Another study found that pangolins — a scaly anteater that is heavily trafficked in parts of Asia and Africa — carry coronaviruses that are very similar to SARS-CoV-2. …
Will I die of COVID-19?
This question can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” just like death from the flu or a car accident can’t be predicted with certainty. We can only speak of probabilities. And even that is not so easy in the case of COVID-19, which is why we have prepared a detailed breakdown of the statistics here …
… the virus’ casualty rate is between 0.5 to 2%, i.e. one or two people die out of every 100 people who are infected.
How long can the virus survive in the air or on surfaces?
… But the good news is that the virus needs a live host to survive. Without a live host, the virus eventually dies out because it can’t copy itself. So while it may survive on some surfaces for hours and even days, over time it becomes less infectious because, without being able to replicate, the virus breaks down over time.
… temperature changes and sunlight — that could affect the stability of the virus.
Why isn’t there a vaccine yet?
It normally takes years to develop an effective and safe vaccine.
… there are at least 47 ongoing projects globally focussing on the development of a coronavirus vaccine. …
… Scientists at the DZIF use pre-existing “building blocks” from previously formulated vaccines to work towards the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Although the scientists are working under high pressure, it’s not possible for a vaccine to be launched on the market this year. The clinical studies, which are crucial for approval, take time.
Parallel to the development of the vaccine, some researchers are working on developing a “passive immunization” with antibodies derived from blood serum. These come from people who have survived a SARS-CoV-2 infection and therefore have antibodies in their blood that can fight the virus.
It’s called passive immunization, because the recipient body hasn’t actively produced any antibodies itself. And as a result, the antibodies it “borrows” will provide protection or help to fight an infection, but only for a short period of time. Only a traditional vaccine will provide long term protection from coronavirus. …