Coronavirus not as dangerous as Nipah but exercise caution, says expert

If one has symptoms like cough or running nose, it is better to remain indoors or consult a doctor if the condition worsens. Representative image: Manorama

Pathanamthitta: Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not as a dangerous as other viral infections such as SARS and Nipah, an expert has said. Dr Rakesh K Mishra, director of Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, said that the fatality rates of Coronavirus were less compared to that of SARS or Nipah.

He, however, said people have to exercise extreme caution until the Coronavirus is contained.

Excerpts from an email interview with the CCMB director

Lower fatality rate

COVID-19 is not as dangerous as Nipah, Zika or SARS. The fatality rate of SARS virus is up to six per cent, while that of the Coronavirus is only 2 per cent. Therefore, just because one person is infected does not mean all the people in that region would be affected.

Maintain a safe distance

This viral fever does not spread through bats or other birds. As the disease is only transmitted through humans, there isn't much cause for concern. People have to exercise extreme caution while at the airports, bus stands or trains. People should avoid assembling in large numbers. Even maintaining a distance of 1metre from an infected person is considered to be safe. If infected, it would take one week for the symptoms to surface.

Social etiquette

Follow the social etiquette of covering your face with a handkerchief while sneezing or coughing. This can check the spread of the disease to some extent. If you have symptoms of fever such as cough or running nose, stay at home. Drink lot of water. If the symptoms worsen, consult a doctor.

Avoid giving handshakes. Do not needlessly touch your face, nose or eyes.


No medicine has been found to treat the COVID-19. The only solution is to contain the spread of the disease. We can say that the virus has been brought under control only if we can prevent it from spreading from one human being to another.

Without much delay, a preventive medicine would be developed. Several of the companies across the world are researching on this.

The virus enters the lungs through nose and mouth, and quickly spreads. Our body has several defensive mechanisms to counter the common influenza virus. However, the immunity towards a new virus would be less. This is one reason as to why the Corona spreads so quickly.

Frail people have to be cautious

Most of the deaths were reported among people who were undergoing treatment for lung-related ailments or those with less immunity. India should also have to follow the steps adopted by China, wherein authorities prevented people from leaving their homes.