Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that are common among animals

chinese teens wearing masks

There are two main types of human coronaviruses – mild and severe. The current outbreak of coronavirus in China is a severe strain.

Viruses do not of course respond to antibiotics, which only combat bacterial infections.

Severe coronavirus strains

The new Chinese coronavirus is a ‘cousin’ of the SARS virus, and has infected thousands since the outbreak began in Wuhan China in December.

Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at the University of Oxford estimates that around 15% to 20% of cases have become severe, requiring, for example, ventilation in the hospital.

Leo Poon is a virologist at the School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong:

“What we know is it causes pneumonia and then doesn’t respond to antibiotic treatment, which is not surprising.”

Two strains of human coronaviruses are associated with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – or SARS. These are MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) symptoms usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath which often progress to pneumonia. MERS has a 30% to 40% fatality rate. As the name implies, most MERS infections have been reported from countries in the Arabian Peninsula, especially for people having contact with camels or camel products.

SARS symptoms from the virus a few years ago often included fever, chills, and body aches which usually progressed to pneumonia. SARS killed about 10% of individuals.

Mild coronavirus strains

The mild types include strains called 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1. These will normally cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory-tract illnesses – rather like the common cold. These illnesses usually only last for a limited amount of time. You may suffer cold-like symptoms ie.  runny nose, cough, sore throat and a mild fever.

Less frequently, human coronaviruses can cause lower-respiratory-tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. But this is more likely in people with weakened immune systems, in infants, and in older adults.

Combating coronavirus

Since antibiotics do not protect against a virus (only against bacteria) you are wise to take steps to boost your immune system during periods of high alert.

One of the few natural products that does enhance the immune system quickly is a supplement called 1-3, 1-6 beta glucans. This type of beta glucan is derived from the cell walls of plants like shiitake mushrooms and from baker’s yeast. It has been shown in clinical trials to boost the level of important protective immune cells called Natural Killer cells, and neutrophils.

WellmuneTM is a patented 1-3, 1-6 beta glucan that has over £120 million of research behind it and has been formulated into ImmunoShield. You can read more about ImmunoShield here.