Coronavirus: Indian professor urges people to avoid eating wild animal meats

15 February, 2020 12:00 AM printer

As the death toll of the new coronavirus continue to rise every single day, it has sparked deep fear among masses. While India has so far reported 3 cases of coronavirus, everyone is looking for concrete information on it. Dr Samit Bhattacharyya (Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics) has been researching infectious diseases for more than a decade now. He has been working on the pattern of the spread of infectious diseases, how they can get curbed and future prediction. At Shiv Nadar University, he heads the Disease Modelling Laboratory which untangles complex correlations between human infectious disease and socioeconomic growth, demographics, and human decision-making. Here is our exclusive interaction with him...

What do we know about the novel coronavirus?

2019-novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new virus that has not been earlier identified in humans. Coronaviruses are a group of viruses usually found in animals. So far, six members (Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43), Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63, New Haven coronavirus), Human coronavirus HKU1, Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV)) excluding 2019-nCoV from the group were identified in humans from different parts of the world. Similar to other respiratory illnesses, 2019-nCoV also causes respiratory difficulties, but in some cases the infections could be potentially lethal.

Preliminary evidence suggests 2019-nCoV transmitted from wild bats to humans and is now spreading faster from person to person. Virus spreads primarily in the form of tiny droplets released when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets can travel around a couple of meters and may be inhaled into the lungs.

There are reports that HIV drugs and certain antiviral drugs are able to cure the new coronavirus. Your thoughts?

Yes, it has been observed that infusion of such drugs made the patient feel better. But a single case study isn’t enough to prove anything. The improvement may be a coincidence. It’s not also clear whether the medication actually helps the patient to be free from symptoms for a while, or it actually blocks the replication of virus within the human body.            —Times of India