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Fiocruz follows situation of the novel coronavirus in Brazil


04/02/2020

AFN

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Fiocruz is the reference institution in Brazil for testing the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and has been working closely with the country´s Ministry of Health (MoH) to ensure timely and reliable diagnostic and response.

On January 24, Fiocruz created a Health Situation Center dedicated to expanding knowledge and monitoring of the situation of the new coronavirus. The meetings bring together researchers, managers and technicians of the institution, as well as representatives of the State Department of Health and municipal secretariats.

On January 27, Fiocruz was also invited to join the Emergency Operations Center (COE), created by the Ministry of Health to treat the new coronavirus. The COE is composed of renowned health institutions such as Fiocruz, Anvisa (the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

On January 30, the representatives of the Ministry visited the Laboratory of Respiratory and Measles Virus of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), the first able to diagnosis of the pathogen, and discussed surveillance strategies.

Check out below a series of questions and answers that offer information about Fiocruz's performance and the virus.

Because it is a virus first reported in humans on December 31, 2019 in Wuhan, China, scientific knowledge about the new coronavirus is still limited. Researchers from all over the world, including Fiocruz, are building this knowledge daily. The information presented here may be updated at any time as you advance knowledge about the characteristics and behavior of this new virus.  

How can Fiocruz contribute to this health emergency if the new coronavirus arrives in Brazil? 

Fiocruz has an experience of almost 60 years with respiratory viruses, acting as a national reference for laboratory diagnosis of these viruses with the Ministry of Health, through the Laboratory of Respiratory and Measles Viruses of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz). The Foundation also has two national reference institutes for patient care: the National Institute of Women's, Child and Adolescent Health Fernandes Figueira (IFF/Fiocruz) and the National Institute of Infectology Evandro Chagas (INI/Fiocruz). Fiocruz is also assisting in the training of health professionals, through the technical capacitation of other laboratories in Brazil and in the neighboring countries. All institutional response capacity can be triggered on the eventual arrival of the virus, following the defined protocols.

How is Fiocruz following the situation of the new virus?

On January 24, Fiocruz created a Health Situation Center dedicated to expanding knowledge, monitoring and monitoring the situation of the new coronavirus. The meetings bring together researchers, managers and technicians of the institution, as well as representatives of the State Department of Health and municipal secretariats.

On January 27, Fiocruz was also invited to join the Emergency Operations Center (COE), created by the Ministry of Health to treat the new coronavirus.

On January 30, the representatives of the Ministry visited the Laboratory of Respiratory and Measles Virus of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/Fiocruz), the first able to diagnosis of the pathogen, and discussed surveillance strategies. The regional advisor for Viral Diseases of PAHO/WHO, Jairo Méndez, has also attended the activity and Fiocruz will conduce on February 6 and 7 a training of technical teams from Countries in the Southern Cone under PAHO representation.

What is the new coronavirus?

Coronaviruses cause respiratory infections in humans and animals. Generally, they are mild to moderate respiratory diseases, similar to a common cold. The new coronavirus is a new strain of the virus (2019-nCoV) that was first reported in humans in Wuhan city, Hubei Province, China.

What is the origin of this new virus?

The origin of this new virus is unknown. Researchers are working on the genetic tree of the new coronavirus to try to determine this source. Coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses, which can circulate both among people and between animals, including camels, cats and bats. Chinese researchers have already identified that the new virus originated in a large seafood market in The City of Wuhan, China. 
Can viruses contaminate objects as well? Sould we worry about importing goods from China?
In general, the coronavirus group can survive outside the human body. About the new coronavirus, there is still no evidence about the exact time of its survival on surfaces, but according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), it is unlikely that it will be able to survive over a period of several days or weeks, which is time for the carriage of goods from China. 

Is the new coronavirus the same as Sars or Mers viruses?

No. Coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses, which can circulate both among people and between animals, including camels, cats and bats. The newly identified coronavirus is not the same as coronavirus that causes Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars). There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and the information will be updated as they become available.

Can domestic animals be infected with the new coronavirus?

Although this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source in China, the risk at this time is with transmission among people. There is, so far, no evidence that any animal in Brazil may be a source of transmission of the new coronavirus.

How is the virus transmitted?

Investigations into transmission of the new coronavirus are still ongoing, but the dissemination of person to person, that is, contact contamination is taking place. It is important to note that the dissemination of person to person can occur continuously.

Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while others are less. It is not yet clear how easily the new coronavirus spreads from person to person. Nevertheless, the transmission of coronaviruses usually occurs through air or by personal contact with contaminated secretions, such as: saliva droplets; sneezing; cough; phlegm; close personal contact, such as touch or handshake; and contact with contaminated objects or surfaces, followed by contact with the mouth, nose or eyes.

Can the person transmit the virus even without symptom?

Yes. From the data presented so far, the incubation period of the virus can vary from two to 14 days. During this time, the virus has the ability to transmit. Therefore, it is important to take general measures, such as washing hands frequently or not sharing objects of personal use.

How is the diagnosis done? 

From the collection of respiratory samples of patients considered suspicious, tests based on molecular biology techniques are performed.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus? 

The clinical signs and symptoms of the new coronavirus are mainly respiratory, similar to a cold. They can also cause lower respiratory tract infection, such as pneumonia. The main symptoms are: fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

Can the virus cause serious symptoms?

Yes. Although most infected people have mild to moderate symptoms, the new coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms and even lead to death. However, so far, the most serious forms have manifested themselves in populations already admittedly vulnerable to other respiratory viruses, such as the elderly, children, people with chronic or immunodepressed diseases.

How is the treatment done? 

There is no specific medication for the virus. Treatment is done based on the individual symptoms of each patient.

Is there a vaccine?

As this is a new virus, there is still no vaccine available.

Can the influenza vaccine also protect against the new coronavirus?

No. These are different viruses.

How to prevent yourself? 

Adopt general measures such as washing hands frequently, especially before eating; use disposable scarf for nasal hygiene; cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing; avoid touching the mucous membranes of the eyes; sanitize your hands after coughing or sneezing; do not share objects of personal use, such as cutlery, plates, glasses or bottles; maintain the environments well ventilated. Avoid contact with people who show signs of the disease. Vulnerable groups should be more attentive to clinical manifestations, such as the elderly, children, pregnant women, people with chronic diseases or immunodeficiency.

What measures will be taken if the virus reaches Brazil? 

The Government has adopted several actions to monitor and improve the country's capacity to operate in the face of the episode in China. Among the actions are the adoption of the measures recommended by the WHO; notification of the area of Ports, Airports and Borders, notification of the Animal Surveillance area of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply; and notification to the Health Departments of states and municipalities, other federal departments and agencies based on official data. The Ministry of Health also installed the  Emergency Operations Center (COE) - new coronavirus  to act in the face of suspicious cases. Follow up-to-date information on the WHO page.

Are there cases in Brazil? 

So far, there are no confirmed cases in the country. According to the Ministry of Health, there are sixteen suspected cases in Brazil (3/2).

Is there any travel guidance?

With the increase in the alert level by the World Health Organization (WHO) to high in relation to the overall risk of the new coronavirus, the Ministry of Health advises that trips to China should be carried out only in cases of extreme need. This recommendation is valid until the whole frame is well defined.

According to the last WHO bulletin, on January 27, the entire Chinese territory is now considered an active transmission area of the disease. Thus, people coming from this locality in the last 14 days and who have fever and respiratory symptoms can be considered suspected cases. The Ministry of Health will update the areas with local transmission according to information from the World Health Organization (WHO). Follow  here.

How is the situation of ports and airports in Brazil?

Follow here the actions of the National Health Surveillance Agency, the body responsible for the measures adopted in ports and airports. 

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