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Image of coronavirus

Coronavirus and COVID-19 explained

We often get asked if there’s a difference between coronavirus and COVID-19.
It’s no surprise that people get confused because the media refer to the virus as COVID-19 while the scientific community refers to the novel (new) coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
The virus was named ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses on February 11, 2020.  
Genetically, the new virus is related to the coronavirus responsible for the devastating SARS outbreak of 2003.
However, the WHO (World Health Organisation) felt there might be unintended fear in some populations by publicly calling the new virus SARS-CoV-2.  
So WHO began referring to the virus as “the virus responsible for COVID-19” or the “COVID-19 virus”.
Since then, the media has adopted COVID-19 as a standard reference.
In general conversion, it doesn’t really matter how we refer to the virus — but when we want to discuss ways to protect ourselves against virus transmission, it helps to be a little clearer.

What is coronavirus?

More importantly, what is the new coronavirus?

There are many types of coronaviruses, but only seven are known to affect humans. This includes the coronaviruses that cause the common cold. And the coronavirus responsible for the current global pandemic.
Coronaviruses get their name from the Latin word ‘corona’, meaning crown.
They are part of a family of viruses called ‘enveloped-viruses’ that have a lipid (fatty) outer layer which the virus uses to help attach itself to host cells.
Other types of enveloped viruses include HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and influenza.

    • Variant

    • Genus

    • First reported

    • Variant

    • Variant

    • Genus

    • Genus

    • First reported

    • First reported

    • Human CoV 229E

    • AlphaCoronavirus

    • Variant

    • Human CoV 229E

    • Genus

    • AlphaCoronavirus

    • First reported

    • Human CoV OC43

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • Variant

    • Human CoV OC43

    • Genus

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • First reported

    • SARS-CoV

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • 2003

    • Variant

    • SARS-CoV

    • Genus

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • First reported

    • 2003

    • Human CoV NL63

    • AlphaCoronavirus

    • 2004

    • Variant

    • Human CoV NL63

    • Genus

    • AlphaCoronavirus

    • First reported

    • 2004

    • Human CoV HKU

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • 2005

    • Variant

    • Human CoV HKU

    • Genus

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • First reported

    • 2005

    • MERS-CoV

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • 2012

    • Variant

    • MERS-CoV

    • Genus

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • First reported

    • 2012

    • SARS-CoV-2

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • 2019

    • Variant

    • SARS-CoV-2

    • Genus

    • BetaCoronavirus

    • First reported

    • 2019

Why is the new coronavirus so dangerous?

The new coronavirus is highly contagious. The most common analogy used by medical professionals is that when someone has flu and sneezes in a room full of people, then one or two people become infected.

But when someone with coronavirus sneezes in a room full of people . . . everyone becomes infected.

The length of time coronavirus remains active on surfaces depends on many factors:

    what surface the virus is on
    whether it is exposed to sunlight
    differences in temperature and humidity
    exposure to cleaning products

Dr Lena Ciric (UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering) highlights two important points from recent clinical studies:

  • Coronavirus found live on hard surfaces

    Coronavirus lasted longest on stainless steel and plastic — for up to nine days.

  • Coronavirus survives in the air

    Coronavirus survives in the air for up to three hours.

And a recent scientific study published in The Lancet on April 02, 2020, showed infectious SARS-CoV-2 microbes still alive on a face mask after seven days.

Why is the COVID-19 disease so dangerous?

Not everyone who becomes infected with coronavirus gets seriously ill. Some people suffer mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, but others develop severe COVID-19 disease.
Although some reports liken the disease to acute pneumonia, COVID-19 causes the lungs to secrete a sticky white fluid which reduces the lungs ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.
This is why we hear accounts of people becoming persistently breathless, with a feeling like “trying to breathe through a soaking wet towel”.
If we develop COVID-19, we don’t know how it will affect us. Nor anyone else we may infect.

What can kill coronavirus?

  • person washing hands to protect against coronavirus

    Soap and water

    Soap and water remain the first line of defence. The detergent in soap dissolves the virus’s fatty outer layer rendering it inactive.

    But remember to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.

  • Illustration

    Bleach

    The active chemical in bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is very effective at killing the virus. However, there are two things to bear in mind:
    1) You need to leave bleach to work for 10-15 minutes before wiping the surface with a clean cloth. Scientists call this wait ‘contact time’. 2) Sodium hypochlorite is a known respiratory irritant and can also cause mild tissue burns in contact with the skin. Always follow the instructions on the label.

  • Image of surgical spirit bottle and gloves used to protect against coronavirus

    Surgical spirit

    Surgical spirit contains the alcohol, ethanol. 
    Ethanol kills coronavirus in as little as 30 seconds. Surgical spirit evaporates so doesn’t need to be wiped off but a note of caution: ethanol can easily stain or permanently damage some surfaces.

  • Image of person using surface wipes to disinfect coronavirus

    Surface wipes

    Antiseptic surface wipes containing benzalkonium chloride are shown to be effective at eliminating SARS-CoV-2. 
    Germs are removed by the pressure you apply by rubbing the surface, and the antiseptic gets to work on disrupting the protective around the virus.

  • Picture of hand sanitiser being used to protect against coronavirus

    Hand sanitiser

    The active chemical in most hand sanitisers is ethanol — but only sanitisers containing a minimum 70% ethanol are effective at killing coronavirus. Here are a couple of things to be aware of:
    1) The repeated use of high concentrations of ethanol can cause eczema. 2) Many ethanol-based sanitisers contain thickening agents and odour-masking-chemicals, which can also irritate the skin.

Can air purification help in the battle against coronavirus?

Learn about the benefits of Ionised Hydroperoxides

Picture of the PureAir air purification unit cleaning the air of coronavirus
Picture of a PHI Cell used to oxidise coronavirus

For billions of years, ionised hydroperoxides have been part of natures way to clean the atmosphere.
Hydroperoxides bond with harmful bacteria, viruses and mould triggering an oxidising process that breaks down the pathogens rendering them inert, safe and odour-free.
The same safe ions and oxides are generated by PureAir air purifiers using a unique advancement in photohydroinizatrion (PHI).
More than 200,000 air purifiers incorporating PureAir PHI Cell™ technology have been sold throughout Europe and the UK.
Hospitals, care homes, medical centres and many of the worlds most recognised companies use air purification in the fight for a cleaner, safer air.
Air purification with ionised hydroperoxides has many benefits:

    Continuous air purification
    Non-irritant
    Naturally kills over 99% of surface bacteria and viruses
    Naturally kills over 97% of airborne bacteria and viruses
    Kills 78% of microbes in human sneezes before they travel 3 feet
    Reduces odours by 99% to leave your home smelling fresh and clean
    Reduces dangerous mould by over 98%
    Reduces gases, vapours and VOCs by over 80%, including those caused by chemical disinfectants

PureAir testing on coronavirus

PureAir has been tested for effectiveness against 2003 SARS (SARS-CoV) by NEI, a Chinese Government facility.
In tests, PureAir reduced the presence of SARS-CoV by 73% in 24 hours.
The world is still learning about SARS-CoV-2, and the virus is not currently available for public testing. There are only a handful of facilities in the world able to test the new coronavirus.
However, Dr James L. Marsden, Associate Director of the National Agriculture Biosecurity Centre at Kansas State University suggests

There is every reason to believe PureAir PHI Cell™ technology would be effective in the reduction of COVID-19.

Dr James L. Marsden

Disclaimer

Many hospitals and medical centres approve the use of PureAir, but the system is not classed as a medical device. So no medical claims are made.

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