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  • Writer's pictureVirander S Chauhan |

Man versus microbe: Coronavirus seems to have upper hand for now

Updated: May 3, 2021

Man versus microbe: Coronavirus seems to have upper hand for now

The struggle for survival between microbes, like viruses and bacteria, and humans is as old as humankind itself.

Microbes, particularly viruses, have only one goal — to find a suitable host and multiply. Viruses, however, do not multiply by themselves. They need the cell machinery of the host for replication. Around two-thirds of all infections in humans are caused by viruses. The current COVID-19 outbreak caused by a coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, has brought this struggle to light once again. As of now, the virus appears to have an upper hand. It seems highly successful because it spreads rapidly from human to human and has a lower rate of mortality. Humans have faced new viruses at regular intervals. These include the Ebola, Zika, HIV, the Flu virus H1N1, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) — the latter two are from the coronavirus family. It is noteworthy that these viruses have all appeared in the last few decades, having jumped from their animal reservoirs to humans. Many of these viruses have a much higher mortality rate than the SARS-CoV2 that caused COVID-19. Like before, humans will come out of the present crisis as winners but that will happen at a huge cost, in every sense of the word — untimely loss of human lives, economic losses and a general loss of confidence in the human ability to deal with a tiny unknown enemy.

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