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    What is virus ? Can you kill virus? Why corona virus is so epitomic? Can you increase immune system to save yourself?

    Virus can be rightly described as an infectious germ that replicates inside the cells of a living organism. These microscopic agents can infect everything or one that falls in its way, like plants, animals, microorganisms, etc.
    History of virus
    Perhaps the first virus described by human beings was the tobacco mosaic virus by Dmitri Ivanhovsky in 1892. He identified the virus as a non-bacterial pathogen that infected the tobacco plants. The name was discovered by Martinus Beijerinck in 1898. There are more than 5000 virus species in the environment that they described in detail and revealing that there were millions of such. Studies say that viruses are present in every ecosystem of the Earth and they are the most numerous among the biological entities. When a virus is not inside an infected cell but is preparing for the same they exist independently as particles or virions. The exact origin of virus is still not known but might have evolved from pieces of DNA or some kind of bacteria.
    Can you kill virus? That is simply said than done!
    A virus affects a living organism by inserting its genetic material into the living organisms DNA. Thereafter they reproduce in an analogous way quite different from sexual reproduction. They might be sometimes confused with a life form as they reproduce but carry the genetic material and evolve in the method of natural selection.
    They can spread from one to another in many ways. The most common way is through vectors. Considering the case of plants it can be said that when an insect sits on an infected plant to feed plant sap it carries the virus and transmits into another non-infected plant only to infect it. In the case of animals, it can be carried by blood-sucking insects.
    Coughing, sneezing helps in the spread of influenza viruses. Some can be transmitted by with oral intake of food and water. Others get transmitted by sexual contact or on exposure to the infected blood. Antibiotics can only show a mild effect on virus symptoms but they can never kill it. This is because antibiotics are specifically designed to kill bacteria, which have different mechanisms in contrast to viruses. However, vaccines can prevent the spread of virus in a body by its artificially created immune responses. Even antiviral drugs can also help minimize the effectiveness of a virus. But in general hey can be classified as a dangerous class of infectious agents causing loss to life and property. Such a virus wreaking havoc in the current time is Coronavirus. It seems that with the widespread outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus diseases of COVID-19, the 21st century is on the verge of a pandemic. More than 100 countries have already reported their first cases and the affected population is all set to touch a lakh. It has already broken records of the SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (2002).
    Origin of Coronavirus
    The first case of Coronavirus was reported in December 2019 from the Wuhan City of China. It was in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale market that the virus affected individuals either shopped or worked in. Apparently, the virus jumped from animals to humans. Since then there have been approx. 4000 deaths. Keeping an eye on the news every now and then witnesses that the numbers are jumping up, up and up. The statistics indicate that the virus is having a high mortality rate.
    It seems like nature is taking revenge on the atrocities we have committed towards it by raising pollutions, global warming and inflicting threats to nature. Till date, there has been no specific coronavirus cure medication to control the spread of the virus. But certainly, WHO (World Health Organization) and governments of respective nations have taken an active role to thwart the spread of the disease, but to not effect. Among the most affected countries, the names of China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Italy need mention with the highest numbers of the affected population. The ruling government has in most of these countries ordered isolation, lockdown, quarantine and restriction on travel. People have been advised to stay in their homes and restrict movement until the disease stops spreading.
    How individuals can protect themselves from the virus?
    To make sure one remains protected from getting infected by the virus one should do the following:
    • Restrict visiting crowded places.
    • Cover the face while going out, talking to others.
    • Wash hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizers.
    • Use tissues (dispose thereafter) when coughing and sneezing.
    • Avoid close contact with people with a possible symptom.
    • Practice self-isolation and follow NHS guide on travel.
    Why corona virus is so epitomic?
    Generally, from November to March the Northern Hemisphere witnesses winter season. So, flu and influenza are much common occurrences. The COVID-19 tends to confuse even doctors with its many overlapping symptoms. However, doctors noticed that Pneumonia is common is Coronavirus affected patients. Other corona virus symptoms are breathing difficulties along with other cold and flu symptoms.
    Can you increase immune system to save yourself?
    If you think you have been exposed to the virus, you should consider taking immediate action to prevent the symptoms from overpowering. Consider visiting a doctor with the necessary precautions, like covering your mouth with a mask or piece of cloth and using tissues while coughing and sneezing. Do not hide any information relating to your recent travels and suspected exposure.
    Even if you are not affected you can practice the remedies Ayurveda recommends to keep yourself immune from within. You may eat Tulsi leaves (5-6) every day. Add a punch of ginger drops to your daily tea. Wash your mouth with warm water and a pinch of powdered turmeric in it. Make sure to have fresh vegetables like papaya, spinach, broccoli, etc. in your diet. Having said that coronavirus cure might not be possible with these simple tips but certainly they would turn you to a healthy tomorrow.



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    Arijit Bhattacharyya