5% less cases on 5th Feb, 3723 cases as against 3927 on 4th Feb; similarly on 28th Jan, cases dropped

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CMAAO Update 6th February on 2019-nCoV

Beware of Common Myths: There is no evidence that eating garlic cannot prevent coronavirus

Travel 4 advisory to China and Travel 2 to Kerala’s affected districts

DCGI approves combination of HIV drugs for coronavirus infection

The government in Delhi on Saturday set up a round-the-clock National Centre for Disease Control Call Centre (+91-11-23978046) to attend to public queries.

Kerala government declares coronavirus as a state emergency. Three primary cases in North, South and Central Kerala (Kasaragod district in north Kerala, Thrissur in central Kerala and Alappuzha in South Kerala). Four Karnataka districts bordering Kerala — Kodagu, Mangaluru, Chamarajanagar and Mysuru — have been put on high alert in the wake of positive coronavirus cases in Kerala.

It is less likely to have the serious illness in other countries. As patients with breathlessness are unlikely to board and patients will mild illness or asymptomatic illness are less likely to transmit infections.

Beware of Myths

  1. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new virus. Coronaviruses do not survive for a long period on objects like letters or packages..
  2. There is no evidence that animals/pets such as dogs or cats can get infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always in your best interests to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various bacteria that can pass from pets to humans.
  3. Pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, provide no protection against the new coronavirus.
  4. Regularly rinsing the nose with saline does not protect people from infection with the new coronavirus. Rinsing nose with saline can hasten recovery from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.
  5. There is no evidence that using mouthwash protects you from infection with the new coronavirus. Some brands of mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth. However, this does not protect you from 2019-nCoV infection.
  6. Garlic may possess some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new virus.
  7. Sesame oil does not kill the new coronavirus. Certain chemical disinfectants can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform. However, they have little to no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It is dangerous to put these chemicals on the skin.
  8. People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) have increased odds of becoming severely ill with the virus.  People of all ages are advised to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
  9. Antibiotics do not work against viruses. The new coronavirus is a virus. Hence, antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat 2019-nCoV. Patients hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
  10. There is no specific medicine yet recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus. Those infected with the virus must be given appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are being investigated and will be tested through clinical trials.

Continue asking patients with suspected flu or diarrhea if they, or someone they have been in contact with, recently returned from coronavirus-affected area. [In US, in a confirmed case, 2019-nCoV RNA has been identified in a stool specimen collected on day 7 of the patient’s illness]

Coronavirus is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern  (It is mandatory to report to WHO human and animal cases) as person-to-person transmission in UK, USA, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam and two deaths, one in the Philippines on Feb 2 (44 M) and 2nd in Hong Kong (39 M)   outside of mainland China have been confirmed.

The virus behaves like SARS with 2 % case fatality (15% of admitted cases),  time to death 14 days,  time to pneumonia 9 days, 3-4 reproductive number R0, has its origin from bats, spreads through large droplets and predominantly from people having lower respiratory infections and hence universal droplet precautions are the answer.


The Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originating from Wuhan, China, has now spread to 28 countries and territories worldwide, with 28276 confirmed cases and 565 deaths (deaths more in comorbid cases, just like SARS, it mostly does not affect children 15 years of age or less).  There were 73 deaths on 5th (15% rise), 66 on 4th Feb,64 on 3rd Feb. It is anticipated that one lac people are already infected

In a study published in NEJM, among the first 425 patients with confirmed novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–infected pneumonia (NCIP), the median age was 59 years (2-74 yrs) and 56% were male. About 55% of the cases with onset before January 1, 2020, were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, compared with 8.6% of the subsequent cases. The mean incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.1 to 7.0), with 95th percentile of the distribution at 12.5 days. In early stages, the epidemic doubled in size every 7.4 days. With a mean serial interval of 7.5 days (95% CI, 5.3 to 19), the basic reproductive number came out to be 2.2 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.9).

Countries and territories that have confirmed cases: Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Malaysia, Macau, Russia, France, the United States, South Korea, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Britain, Vietnam, Italy, India, the Philippines, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Finland, Sweden and Spain.

Cases recorded in Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam, Japan, France and the United States involved patients who had not been to China.

It’s not new

Every decade a zoonotic coronavirus seems to cross species and infect human populations. This decade has seen a virus, the 2019-nCoV, first identified in Wuhan, China, in persons exposed to a seafood or wet market in mid-December 2019.

CORONA: Crown or Coronary artery

The virus belongs to the corona virus family and has an RNA core. The term ‘corona’ stands for crown or the halo around the sun. The arteries that supply oxygen to the heart are also called coronary arteries, as the heart is considered the crown. When seen under an electron microscope, the virus appears round in shape with spikes poking out from its periphery.

The three deadly human respiratory coronaviruses so far -

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus [SARS-CoV]

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus [MERS-CoV])

2019-nCoV: The virus is 75-80% identical to the SARS-CoV

The virus

2019-nCoV is quite different from SARS-CoV to be considered a new human-infecting beta coronavirus. According to structural analysis,  2019-nCoV might be able to bind to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor in humans.  This single-strand, positive-sense RNA genome ranges from 26 to 32 kilobases in length.

The case fatality is lower than SARS, MERS and EBOLA

2019-nCoV mortality rate is 2% (earlier thought to be 3%) compared to 34% for MERS, 10% for SARS (out of 5327 cases), 50% for Ebola, 30-40% for small pox, 10-15% for measles (developing countries), 2-5% in children and 15-30% in adults for polio, 5-10% for diphtheria, 4% in infants < 1yr, 1% in children < 4 years for whooping cough AND < 0.1-4 % for swine flu.

If Hubei province, where the epicenter of 2019-nCoV, Wuhan, is situated, is removed from the calculation, the national (China) mortality rate comes down to 0.3%. Within the Hubei province, the mortality rate is about 1% if the city of Wuhan is excluded (where it is 5.5%).

The case fatality rate with seasonal flu is <0.01% (1 death per 10,000 cases)

Role of CMAAO and other Medical Associations

It is mandatory for all countries to be prepared for containment measures. This includes active surveillance measures, early detection, isolation and case management, tracking contacts and preventing the spread of the virus. It is important to share full data with WHO. It is a legal requirement that all countries share information with WHO under the IHR.

If 2019-nCoV is detected in an animal (information about the species, tests, and epidemiological data), it must be reported to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) as an emerging disease.

All countries should emphasize on reducing human infection, and preventing secondary transmission and international spread.

It’s Zoonotic but it is unlikely to spread through seafood in India

This new coronavirus is closely related to several bat coronaviruses. Bats seem to be the likely primary reservoir for the virus. While SARS-CoV was transmitted to humans from exotic animals in wet markets, MERS-CoV transmitted from camels. The ancestral hosts were probably bats; however.

The virus has been traced to snakes in China, so, it is unlikely to spread in India through sea food. Snakes often hunt for bats. According to reports, snakes were sold in the local seafood market in Wuhan, thus raising the likelihood that the 2019-nCoV might have moved from the host species, i.e., bats, to snakes and then to humans. It is still not understood as to how the virus could adapt to both the cold-blooded and warm-blooded hosts.

It is more infectious to humans

This new virus seems to grow better in primary human airway epithelial cells as compared to standard tissue-culture cells, unlike SARS-CoV or MERS-CoV. The 2019-nCoV will likely behave more like the SARS-CoV.

Human to Human infection

SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV affect the intrapulmonary epithelial cells more than the upper airway cells. Transmission thus occurs primarily from patients with recognized illness and not from patients with mild, nonspecific signs. However NEJM has reported a case of 2019-nCoV infection acquired outside of Asia wherein transmission seems to have taken place during the incubation period in the index patient.

2019-nCoV seems to employ the same cellular receptor as SARS-CoV (human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 [hACE2]). Transmission is expected to occur only after signs of lower respiratory tract disease develop.

The principal cause for breathlessness is the fact that this virus does not attack the throat alone. It attacks the lungs as well. Patients so far have not presented with a sore throat, because the 2019-nCoV attacks the intraepithelial cells of lung tissue.

A report of a small cluster of five cases indicated transmission from asymptomatic individuals during the incubation period; all patients in this cluster had mild illness. Another person got infected while using gown, but the eyes were not covered.

It’s predominantly a large droplet infection

Transmission of 2019-nCoV probably occurs through large droplets and contact and less frequently by aerosols and fomites. In lab we need minimum BSL-2 or -3 (not BSL-4 facilities) to prevent transmission.

The incubation period

Up to 2 weeks, according to WHO, with mean being 5.5 days.


According to a report published in the Lancet, one-third of the patients landed up in the intensive care unit; and around 15% of these succumbed to the infection. Almost all presented with fever, more than two-thirds had cough and nearly 50% had weakness or muscle ache. More than 50% had shortness of breath.

2019-nCoV presents with low white cell count and reduction in lymphocyte count, and raised liver transaminase levels.

Most infected patients experience milder symptoms, but about 1 in 5 people have severe illness, including pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Clinical features Epidemiologic risk
Fever* or signs/symptoms of lower respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath) PLUS Any person (including health care workers)

who has had close contact¶ with a

laboratory-confirmed◊ 2019-nCoV

patient within 14 days of symptom onset

Fever* and signs/symptoms of

lower respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath)

PLUS A history of travel from Hubei Province,

China within 14 days of symptom onset

Fever* and signs/symptoms of

lower respiratory illness (cough or shortness of breath) requiring hospitalization

PLUS A history of travel from mainland China

within 14 days of symptom onset

nCoV: novel coronavirus; CDC: United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; NIOSH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

* Fever may be subjective or confirmed.

¶ CDC definition of close contact (any of following):

  • Being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) or within the room or care area of a 2019-nCoV case for a prolonged period of time while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, NIOSH-certified disposable N95 respirator, eye protection); close contact can include caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a 2019-nCoV case.
  • Having direct contact with infectious secretions of a 2019-nCoV case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.

Δ Documentation of laboratory confirmation of 2019-nCoV may not be possible for travellers or persons caring for patients in other countries.◊ Includes any member of a cluster of patients with severe acute lower respiratory illness (e.g., pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome) of unknown aetiology in whom 2019-nCoV is being considered that requires hospitalization. Evaluate such persons in consultation with state and local health departments irrespective of travel history.


No proven antiviral treatment exists yet for the coronavirus. A combination of lopinavir and ritonavir exhibited some promise in patients with SARS, but this was only in the lab and not in humans. A randomized study is underway in Saudi Arabia in patients with MERS; a combination of lopinavir, ritonavir and recombinant interferon beta-1b versus placebo; the results are still awaited.

Scientists in Australia have reportedly developed a lab-grown version of coronavirus. The breakthrough would help researchers globally in their efforts to develop a vaccine and detection tests.

Chloroquine, which has potent antiviral activity against the SARS-CoV, has been shown to have similar activity against HCoV-229E in cultured cells and against HCoV-OC43 both in cultured cells and in a mouse model. However, studies of efficacy in humans are lacking.

Thai doctors have used oseltamivir along with lopinavir and ritonavir, both HIV drugs. An experimental drug from Gilead Sciences Inc., called remdesevir, has shown encouraging results.

Arbidol, an antiviral drug used in Russia and China for treating influenza, could be combined with Darunavir, the anti-HIV drug, for treating patients with the coronavirus (the corona virus shares some similarity to HIV virus also).

PVP-I mouthwashes and gargles are known to reduce viral load in the oral cavity and the oropharynx. The World Health Organization has included PVP-I in the list of essential medicines. It exhibits a high potency for viricidal activity against viruses of significant global concern, including hepatitis A and influenza, as well as the MERS and SARS coronaviruses.

The Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) has approved the “restricted use” of a combination of drugs used widely for controlling HIV infection in public health emergency for treating those affected by novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Universal droplets precaution the answer

Quarantining for two weeks

Timely diagnosis

Strict adherence to universal precautions

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses!


Requires contact of ten minutes within six feet

The virus can remain alive on any surface for 3-12 hours

Choose a window seat and remain there to lower your chances of encountering an infectious disease.

Level 1 – Exercise normal safety precautions

Level 2 – Exercise a high degree of caution (Affected areas in Kerala)

Level 3 – Reconsider your need to travel (advisory for coronavirus-affected countries)

Level 4 – Do not travel (advisory for China)

Hong Kong has imposed 14 days quarantine on people arriving from China.

The Karnataka government has ordered that anybody arriving from the 23 coronavirus-affected countries must stay in isolation at home for 28 days. The home isolation requirement is regardless of the virus symptoms.


The reproduction number, referred to as R0 or “r naught” is the number of additional people that an infected person can infect.

A recent study has shown Ro as high as 4.08. This exceeds WHOs estimate of 1.4-2.5 made on January 23, and also exceeds recent estimates of 3.6 -4.0 and 2.24 – 3.58. Preliminary studies had estimated Ro as 1.5-3.5. Going by this value, on average every case of the Novel Coronavirus would give rise to 3 to 4 new cases. An outbreak with a reproductive number of below 1 will gradually disappear. The Ro for common flu is 1.3 and for SARS it was 2.0.

Detection of 2019-nCoV RNA in specimens from the upper respiratory tract with low Ct values on day 4 and day 7 of illness suggests high viral loads and potential for transmissibility [NEJM].

Risk AssessmentThe risk depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the measures available to control the impact of the virus (vaccine or medications).The risk to individuals is dependent on exposure. Presently, some people will have an increased risk of infection, for example healthcare workers caring for 2019-nCoV patients and close contacts of 2019-nCoV patients. For the general public, unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from 2019-nCoV is considered low at this time.


US, Japan, India have evacuated their citizens trapped in China’s affected areas

Coronavirus: Mass Quarantine May Spark Irrational Fear, Anxiety, Stigma


Every year an estimated 290,000 to 650,000 people die across the world due to complications from seasonal influenza (flu) viruses. This figure corresponds to 795 to 1,781 deaths in a day owing to the seasonal flu.

SARS (Nov 2002 – Jul 2003) was a coronavirus with its origin in Beijing, China. It spread to 29 countries, and infected 8,096 people with 774 deaths (fatality rate of 9.6%). SARS infected 5,237 people in mainland China. Going by this figure, Wuhan Coronavirus surpassed SARS on January 29, 2020, when Chinese officials confirmed 5,974 cases of 2019-nCoV. On January 30, 2020 the novel coronavirus cases surpassed even the 8,096 cases worldwide representing the final SARS count in 2003.

MERS (2012) led to the death of 858 people out of the 2,494 infected cases (fatality rate of 34.4%).

PMO Suggestions

7th Jan: CMAAO Alert: WHO to monitor Chinas mysterious pneumonia of unknown virus outbreak

8th Jan: CMAAO warns Asian citizens travelling to China over mystery pneumonia outbreak

10th Jan: I wrote an editorial: Coronavirus strain causing pneumonia in Wuhan, China, It’s a new strain of coronavirus in the China pneumonia

13th Jan: China Virus Outbreak Linked to Seafood Market:

15th Jan: First Case China Pneumonia Virus Found Outside China in Thailand

17th Jan: WHO issues warning after mysterious Chinese coronavirus spreads to Japan

17th Jan: India at threat of Coronavirus. CMAAO urges travel advisory on coronavirus: http://www.drugtodayonline.com/medical-news/nation/10379-cmaao-urges-travel-advisory-on-coronavirus.html

(18th Jan: Indian govt issues travel advisory as Chinas mysterious Coronavirus spreads in other countries)

18th Jan: WHO issues warning after mysterious Chinese Coronavirus spreads to Japan [http://blogs.kkaggarwal.com/tag/who/]

18th-20th Jan: Three countries meet; also discussed Coronavirus

22nd Jan: Still not being declared to be a notifiable disease; N 95 to be included in the list of essential drugs and price-capped; Oseltamivir should also be price-capped; flights should have masks available for all passengers; not declaring flu-like symptoms while boarding or landing should be a punishable offence (23rd Jan: India issues advisory to airports)

24th Jan: Inter Ministerial Committee needs to be formed on Coronavirus (PMO took a meeting on 24th evening)

25th Jan: Indian government should pay for Indians affected with the virus in China

26th Jan: Need of National Droplet Infection Control Program; Policy to ban export of face masks; policy to evacuate Indians from China’s affected areas; Time to collaborate on Nosode therapy (Exports of masks banned on 31st January by Indian Government)

27th Jan: History of anti-fever drugs at airports should be taken

28th Jan: Do research on Nosodes

29th Jan: Closure of live markets all over the world, India should take  lead

30th Jan: Paid flu leave, surgical mask at public places, N 95 for health care providers

31st Jan: Respiratory hygiene advisory to schools, Pan-India task force to be made

1st Feb: Disaster Budget is the need of the hour

3rd Feb: 100 crore budget for Coronavirus; Private labs to be recognized; one dedicated coronavirus National help line; MTNL, BSNL to have a line of advisory in their bills; isolation wards to be single rooms or two beds separated with six feet distance; national insurance to cover cost of treatment; suspend AI flights to China and Hong Kong [New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) - Air India on Tuesday said that it will suspend flights to Hong Kong due to the outbreak of deadly coronavirus. The suspension will come into force from Friday until March 28. Earlier, Air India had cancelled its flight to Shanghai from January 31 to February 14. Sea ports to have same precautions; price caps for masks and gloves; National Droplet Control Program; clarification that import of goods is not risky]

4th Feb: Kerala travel advisory needed [The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a fresh travel advisory on Monday urging people to refrain from visiting China]

Confirmed Cases and Deaths by Country and Territory

(Affecting 28 countries and territories)

Country Cases Deaths Region
China 28,018 563 Asia
Japan 45 0 Asia
Singapore 28 0 Asia
Thailand 25 0 Asia
South Korea 23 0 Asia
Hong Kong 21 1 Asia
Australia 14 0 Australia/Oceania
Malaysia 12 0 Asia
United States 12 0 North America
Germany 12 0 Europe
Taiwan 11 0 Asia
Macao 10 0 Asia
Vietnam 10 0 Asia
France 6 0 Europe
Canada 5 0 North America
United Arab Emirates 5 0 Asia
Philippines 3 1 Asia
India 3 0 Asia
Russia 2 0 Europe
Italy 2 0 Europe
United Kingdom 2 0 Europe
Finland 1 0 Europe
Sweden 1 0 Europe
Sri Lanka 1 0 Asia
Cambodia 1 0 Asia
Nepal 1 0 Asia
Spain 1 0 Europe
Belgium 1 0 Europe

Total Deaths of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Date TotalDeaths Changein Total Change inTotal (%)
Feb. 5 565 73 15%
Feb. 4 492 66 15%
Feb. 3 426 64 18%
Feb. 2 362 58 19%
Feb. 1 304 45 17%
Jan. 31 259 46 22%
Jan. 30 213 43 25%
Jan. 29 170 38 29%
Jan. 28 132 26 25%
Jan. 27 106 26 33%
Jan. 26 80 24 43%
Jan. 25 56 15 37%
Jan. 24 41 16 64%
Jan. 23 25 8 47%

Daily Deaths of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Date DailyDeaths Changein Daily Change inDaily (%)
Feb. 5 73 7 11%
Feb. 4 66 2 3%
Feb. 3 64 6 10%
Feb. 2 58 13 29%
Feb. 1 45 -1 -2%
Jan. 31 46 3 7%
Jan. 30 43 5 13%
Jan. 29 38 12 46%
Jan. 28 26 0 0%
Jan. 27 26 2 8%
Jan. 26 24 9 60%
Jan. 25 15 -1 -6%
Jan. 24 16 8 100%
Jan. 23 8 0 0%

Total Cases of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Date TotalCases Changein Total Change inTotal (%)
Feb. 5 28,276 3,723 15%
Feb. 4 24,553 3,927 19%
Feb. 3 20,626 3,239 19%
Feb. 2 17,387 2,836 19%
Feb. 1 14,551 2,603 22%
Jan. 31 11,948 2,127 22%
Jan. 30 9,821 2,005 26%
Jan. 29 7,816 1,755 29%
Jan. 28 6,061 1,482 32%
Jan. 27 4,579 1,778 63%
Jan. 26 2,801 786 39%
Jan. 25 2,015 703 54%
Jan. 24 1,312 468 55%
Jan. 23 844 265 46%

Daily Cases of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Date DailyCases Changein Daily Change inDaily (%)
Feb. 5 3,723 -204 -5%
Feb. 4 3,927 688 21%
Feb. 3 3,239 403 14%
Feb. 2 2,836 233 9%
Feb. 1 2,603 476 22%
Jan. 31 2,127 122 6%
Jan. 30 2,005 250 14%
Jan. 29 1,755 273 18%
Jan. 28 1,482 -296 -17%
Jan. 27 1,778 992 126%
Jan. 26 786 83 12%
Jan. 25 703 235 50%
Jan. 24 468 203 77%
Jan. 23 265 132 99%

(Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-toll/)

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA