Coronavirus: answer your questions 

How did coronavirus get its name?

Coronavirus is a blanket name for a large family of viruses, in which many are able to cause respiratory infections that range from mild to intense severity. The beginning of the name coronavirus has been designated due to the particular crown-like shape the viruses in this family have (corona in latin means crown). 

Although COVID-19 is popularly known as the coronavirus disease, the name is imprecise as the virus that causesit is officially called SARS-CoV-2 Le lien ne semble pas fonctionner SARS-CoV-21. Nonetheless, in order to avoid the correlation of it to Sars-CoV, another virus that had its outbreak in 2002, WHO (World Health Organization) spokespeople call it “the virus responsible for COVID-19” or simply “the COVID-19 virus”2.

Are coronavirus and covid 19 the same?

No. Coronavirus is a name that encompasses a large family of viruses, not only the one that causes COVID-19. COVID-19, on the other hand, is the name of the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

How does coronavirus spread?

As far as we know today, the virus that causes COVID-19 is believed to spread through respiratory droplets3 which are liberated in the air while a person speaks, sneezes or coughs.

If not blocked, these droplets can land in people nearby (who may take those accidentally to their nose, eyes or mouth, if the droplets didn’t land in those places in the first place). Considering this transmission scenario, the closer people are, the bigger are the chances of transmission. 

Besides the possibility of the respiratory droplets landing from one person to another, there’s the possibility of transmission of the through contaminated objects4. In this other scenario, the contamination happens when a person touches an item contaminated with the virus and then takes their now contaminated hands to their eyes, mouth or nose.

Can coronavirus live on surfaces?

Yes, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease is able to live on surfaces for hours and even days, depending on the type of surface. On cardboard, for example, it can survive for up to 24 hours, while on plastic and stainless steel it is able to live up to three days5. That’s why it is necessary to clean surfaces daily, plus have extra care with grocery packages and mail.

How to prevent coronavirus?

You can prevent the infection by the virus that causes COVID-196 by avoiding taking your hands and potentially infected objects to your face area. Also, it is extremely necessary to wash your hands for more than 20 seconds more often, especially when arriving home, or after contacting potentially infected items or surfaces. 

It is also recommended to keep distance from people who are coughing or sneezing, plus use masks and incentivise people to wear them as well when going out, since masks help avoid the spread of respiratory droplets.

If you’re the one who’s coughing and sneezing, please remember to protect your mouth/nose with your elbow, so the droplets liberated don't spread and preferably stay home until you feel better. If your symptoms get worse and you feel trouble breathing, seek medical care. 

Keep in mind also that among all of the measures you can do to prevent becoming contaminated or contaminating other people with the COVID-19 coronavirus, staying home is the most efficient one. 

A person with no symptoms is able to transmit coronavirus?

So far, the scientific evidence available shows asymptomatically-infected people are much less likely to transmit the COVID-19 coronavirus7, but it doesn’t mean it is impossible.

However, the low levels of incidence aren't a green sign for people without symptoms so far to go out. Among people infected, besides the asymptomatic ones which will never develop the symptoms, there are people who are on the pre-symptomatic stage. The latter ones are contaminated and eventually will develop the symptoms, which means they’re very likely to transmit the virus to others.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

The symptoms COVID-19 causes range from mild to severe8. Plus, there are a few less common symptoms that aren’t very serious, but could happen. They are: 

Milder COVID-19 symptoms:


  • Fever;
  • Dry cough;
  • Tiredness.

Less common:

  • Aches and pains in the body;
  • Sore throat;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Conjunctivitis;
  • Headache;
  • Loss of capacity to feel tastes or smells;
  • Rash on skin;
  • Discoloration of fingers or toes.

More serious COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath;
  • Chest pain or pressure;
  • Loss of speech or movement.

Usually, the most severe symptoms tend to appear in people in risk-groups, although it is not impossible for someone out of the groups to develop those. 

What does coronavirus do to lungs? 

Many doctors believe the symptoms the infection by Sars-CoV-2 causes are similar to the symptoms other coronaviruses create in people's bodies9. When the virus enters your respiratory tract, it goes in direction to your lungs and may cause irritation and inflammation on the lining on its way, while your immune system tries to prevent the infection. That’s why coughing and sore throat are very common symptoms in those infected by the virus.

In more severe cases, the COVID-19 coronavirus infects both lungs, making breathing harder, and even making the patient breathe faster. Chances of developing pneumonia are increased in cases like this.

If the inflammation continues to increase overtime and the infection isn’t treated, breathing will tend to become even harder, due to the increased amount of fluid the inflammation will stimulate. In this case, chances of developing severe pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are bigger and, depending on the stage, it might be necessary to admit the patient in an ICU so he can receive the necessary help to breathe well and try to recover.

It has been noticed that patients who recover from critical illness caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus tend to have sequelae caused by the excessive inflammation, especially in terms of breathing conditions.

Is coronavirus deadly?

Although the recovery rates are very high and tend to increase as we learn more about the COVID-19 coronavirus10, unfortunately for some people it can lead to very serious illness and even death.

Does coronavirus have a treatment?

There’s no official coronavirus treatment available yet with the desired levels of efficiency, but some medications have been found to be very helpful when treating this condition.

In the meantime, scientists and doctors are on the run to find more effective alternatives. Several study medications are under study, including Abivax’s ABX46411.

How to test for coronavirus?

Tests for coronavirus are being run differently in different cities. There are two types of tests available: viral tests and antibody tests12, which will be applied according to availability and the doctor’s orientation.