What You Should Know About Coronaviruses
What Makes a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses also share several other features. They all:
- ...cause diseases in mammals and birds.
- ...have genes comprised of RNA, not DNA.
- ...are the largest among known RNA viruses, with about 26,000 to 34,000 bases (RNA nucleotides).
- ...are enveloped - i.e., encased in an outer lipid coat, which makes them more susceptible to alcohol-based disinfectants.
- ...can be transmitted to humans from other animals.
Now we have SARS 2.0, caused by what the scientists have named SARS-CoV-2. That's the official designation for the virus behind the latest outbreak. The name is based on its 99.98% genetic similarity with the original SARS-CoV.
The disease itself is COVID-19 - i.e., the "coronavirus disease of 2019." All current discussion of the new "coronavirus" outbreak refers specifically to COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2.
Specifics of the Newest Coronavirus
Early data may change as molecular biologists ramp up the speed of lab work on SARS-CoV-2. Indeed, they almost certainly will change as new information seems to be coming in almost daily.