BY: Akebe Luther King Abia
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, has taken the world by surprise. The good news is that tremendous scientific and technological advances have permitted scientists to understand a lot about this virus in a short amount of time.
Within just two months of the first case, the causative virus has been identified, its genetic makeup has been determined, and detection methods have been optimised. Scientists have also found that there is more than one strain circulating.
Despite these rapid advances, there is still significant uncertainty. Scientists don’t yet fully understand its transmission route, although person-to-person transmission, through inhalation of droplets in the air, is the most common mode. Another uncertainty is its low detection rate, especially with mild or asymptomatic cases. A third is how weather could affect transmission.