Science will win


With Bit scientist version we open this space for scientific dissemination on the health emergency that we are experiencing these days.

We will try to clarify both the simplest and the most complex issues, we want to understand what are the right measures and the behaviors that must be adopted to face the contagion and to outline which future scenarios await us.

In this moment of crisis, it can happen that fear leads us to believe everything and forget that science is the only valid tool to save us. For a structure such as the exhibition whose main mission is scientific dissemination, it is imperative to try to spread precise and authoritative communication.

What is a coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a chain of genetic material (RNA) covered by a membrane of proteins that protect it and from which other proteins protrude that help it to join and enter human cells.

How does it infect human cell?

SARS-CoV-2 binds to human cells using the ACE2 protein, located on the outer surface of the cells, the virus inserts its S protein into ACE2 as a door key. Once inside, he uses cellular machinery to produce between 10,000 and 100,000 copies of himself, which begin to infect new cells.

How can vaccine be?

Vaccines and other treatments try to interfere with the infection process. The goal is to teach the immune system to identify the virus and destroy it by itself.

 Where did it start and why?

On December 31st, 2019, the Chinese authorities reported the existence of 27 cases of pneumonia of unknown origin, seven of which were serious. The people affected were apparently connected to a market in the city of Wuhan, a large city with more than 11 million inhabitants. At the moment it is not known which animal, used as food, caused the epidemic, we think of a pangolin or a bat.

Which differences from other viruses?

Coronavirus is more deadly and spreads faster than other similar viruses, such as the one causing seasonal flu. Current coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, is able to enter through the channels of human cells and many other mammals, but not mice or rats, the animals most used in research.

Covid-19 a new type of influence?

It is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a type of coronavirus, belonging to a large family of viruses that affects humans and various animal species. Actually six viruses have been identified that can make a person sick: four that cause the common cold, SARS (which also emerged in 2003 in China, with which this coronavirus shares more than 80% of the genome) and MERS ( appeared in 2012, in Saudi Arabia).

Are there any possibilities of new similar or worse viruses  to appear?

A study by Brown University (USA) calculated that between 1980 and 2010 the number of infectious disease epidemics multiplied by three, a fact that in part may reflect real growth of this type of virus. Despite scientific advances and the increased controls that countries like China have applied to animal transportation to prevent outbreaks such as bird flu, population growth, migration or the onset of antibiotic resistance, the risks are increasing.

Is a double infection with flu virus and coronavirus possible?

So far, the existence of protection from one virus to another has not been demonstrated, therefore, from what we know, theoretically a person could be infected simultaneously with the flu virus and the coronavirus. And logically, when there is a double infection, everything becomes complicated. The two viruses are different and both have lung involvement. If the lungs are already damaged by one of them and a second virus is coming that damages them even more, it becomes an important additional complication.

Why did it spread so quickly?

One of the characteristics of the Covid-19 is its high reproductive potential, which has facilitated its expansion worldwide. Coronavirus has an R0 (infection rate) of 2.68 according to the scientific journal ‘Lancet’, meaning that each infected person reaches 2.68 people, a relatively high number. In addition, symptoms such as cough and fever appear when the person has been infected for several days and can therefore transmit the virus.

Can it change and become more resistant or dangerous?

Whenever a virus infects a new cell, mutations can occur in the copy of its genetic sequence, consisting of 30,000 units – a human genome contains 3,000 million. There is fear that in one of the millions of times the virus multiplies, it will get a mutation that will give it a new ability, for example greater lethality. But this is not what usually happens.

What are zoonoses?

They are infectious diseases transmitted from animals to humans. 60% of human infectious diseases come from pathogens shared with wild and domestic animals. Each year, this type of disease affects around 1 billion people and causes 2.7 million deaths.

How long does the virus survive in the environment after leaving an organism?

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, experiments show that once deposited, the virus can be detected up to three hours after aerosol, up to four hours on a copper surface, up to 24 hours on cardboard. and up to two or three days on plastic and steel.

What are the most common symptoms of Covid-19?

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are fever, tiredness and dry cough. Some patients also experience pain, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.

How can infection be prevented?

Hands should be washed frequently with an alcohol or soap and water hand sanitizer. You must cough or sneeze by covering your mouth and nose with your elbow flexed or with a tissue. You should avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. You must keep at least one meter away with other people, especially those who cough, sneeze and have a fever. Meetings or gatherings should be avoided.

Is it possible that a second wave of viruses will occur in the near future?

According to a study by Imperial College London, a second wave of October will be practically inevitable once isolation measures are lifted. The researchers also warn that the greater the social removal measures, the greater the impact of this second wave will be, since there will be more people who have not been exposed to the virus.

Will the virus survive in summer with rising temperatures?

Coronaviruses generally survive longer outdoors in low temperatures than in high temperatures. Above 37 degrees, the concentration of the virus on a surface becomes 10 times lower every 24 hours, explains Isabel Sola, CSIC researcher. “But in less extreme conditions, at around 22 degrees and 40% humidity, the virus can last up to three days on some surfaces,” she says.

Is there already a vaccine?

The most advanced vaccines are being developed in China and the United States. Both projects are in the clinical trial phase and then performed human tests. However, experts doubt that a viable vaccine will be reached before 2021.

How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine consists of introducing an agent that resembles the virus into the human body so that our body generates antibodies and is able to defend itself against it. For the possible vaccine against coronavirus, it is possible to use two routes using the information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself, acting either on a single protein of the virus or on the entire virus.

When will the vaccine be ready?

One of the more advanced vaccines is based on the introduction of a messenger RNA that produces the S protein of the virus, but not the rest of the pathogen. This allows the immune system to identify and remember it, so that if a real virus enters the body, the antibodies bind to that protein and begin the process of destroying the virus. This vaccine developed by the American company Moderna in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) will begin testing healthy volunteers in April. But this is only the first of the three stages of human testing needed to pass it. According to the NIH, no vaccine will be ready for use within a year, so it can only be used if the pathogen reappears next winter or if it becomes a seasonal disease, such as flu.

How long does it take to incubate the virus?

Most scientific estimates range from one to 14 days and typically are around five, according to WHO. This implies that infected people can transmit the virus without showing symptoms of infection yet.

Can an already healed person be re-infected?

Typically, when a person becomes infected with a virus, a series of antibodies and defenses are produced in their body which, in theory, should prevent re-infection. But, when it comes to SARS-CoV-2, it is only a hypothesis based on what has happened in other cases with other viruses. The reality is that it will not be possible to know for sure until the epidemiological data of people who have been infected are available.

Do allergic people have greater risk of contracting coronavirus?

There are many types of allergies. Any allergy or hypersensitivity that triggers an asthma process represents an additional risk, because it involves an alteration of the airways and this is a risk factor for coronavirus. But we’re talking about allergies that trigger a process that makes breathing difficult. In relation to food, drug or skin allergies, it is logical to think that they do not belong to a risk group.

Do smokers have more risk?

Yes, from the information that has already started to be published in people who have suffered from Covid-19 in China, it has been seen that among the patients in whom the disease is complicated there is a higher frequency of smokers.

When and how to wear a mask?

If you are healthy, you should only bring it if you are taking care of someone suspected of having a coronavirus infection. Wear a mask even if you have a cough or sneeze. The masks are effective only when combined with frequent hand washing. Before putting on your mask, wash your hands. Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no spaces between your face and the mask. Avoid touching it while using it; if you do, wash your hands. Change your mask as soon as it is wet and never reuse disposable ones. To remove it, do it from behind (do not touch the front); dispose of it immediately in a closed container; and wash your hands properly.


National Institutes of Health (NIH – USA)

Brown University (USA)



The Wellcome Trust (UK)

El Pais (E)

The New England Journal of Medicine (USA.

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