What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERSCoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
The 2019-nCoV is a novel strain of coronavirus that was first detected in the city of Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, in the People’s Republic of China – a city with a population of 11 million. The outbreak started as a pneumonia of unknown causal agent at the end of December 2019.
The transmission of 2019-nCoV occurs by the following mechanisms:
- Most often, spread from person to person among close contacts (about 6 feet/1.8 metres).
- Person-to-person spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
- These droplets can land in the mouths, noses or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- It is currently unclear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it (fomites) and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.
- Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). With 2019-nCoV, however, there have been reports of spread from an asymptomatic infected patient to a close contact. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020) (Rothe, 2020)
For confirmed 2019-nCoV infections, reported illnesses have ranged from people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include (on admission to hospital) (Nanshan Chen, 2020):
- Fever (>80% of the patients)
- Cough (>80%)
- Shortness of breath (31%)
- Muscle ache (11%)
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
- When coughing and sneezing cover the mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue – throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands;
- Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your healthcare provider;
- When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
- The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross- contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices. (World Health Organization, 2020)
Responsibilities and role of community pharmacy
Community pharmacies in outbreak-affected and unaffected countries are often the first point of contact with the health system for those with health-related concerns or simply in need of information and reliable advice.
Community pharmacists have the shared responsibility of:
- Storing appropriate stocks of pharmaceutical products (medicines, masks, etc) to supply the demand
- Informing and educating the public
- Promoting disease prevention
- Promoting infection control
Responsibilities and role of hospital pharmacy
Hospital pharmacies in outbreak-affected and unaffected countries play an important role in:
- Storing appropriate stocks of relevant medicines and other medical products and devices to supply the demand
- Collaborating with other healthcare professionals in providing patient care and support
- In-hospital prevention and infection control
- Informing and counselling
- Ensuring the responsible use of the pharmaceutical products supplied. For example, ensuring that healthcare professionals consistently wear their masks correctly.
Source:- Coronavirus 2019-nCoV outbreak: Information and Guidelines for Pharmacists and the Pharmacy Workforce FIP
Self Motivated & dedicated Pharmacist . Studying Bachelor of Pharmacy Institute of Medicine(IOM). Works as Pharmacy Technician at Patan Academy of Health Sciences