2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease is another name for COVID-19. It is an infectious disease that can affect the upper and lower respiratory tract.

Coronaviruses are a common type of virus. They cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe life threatening diseases. SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that leads to 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease. Globally, it has caused more than 250 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 5 million deaths.

Although 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease can sometimes be a devastating illness, most people recover with at-home care. Additionally, since the development of effective vaccines, the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths have been steadily decreasing.

This article looks at 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease in more detail, including its origin and risk factors. It also covers the relationship between this condition and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

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People typically refer to 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease as COVID-19.

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that results from infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This virus typically attacks the respiratory system, causing complications that can range from mild to severe depending on a person’s age and existing medical conditions.

People may compare ARDS to 2019-nCoV, but these two diseases are different.

Whereas 2019-nCoV results from infection with a virus, ARDS occurs due to a lung injury that leads to fluid leaking into the lungs. It becomes difficult to breathe when this happens, resulting in insufficient oxygen delivery to the body.

In most cases, those who develop ARDS are already in the hospital for another reason, such as trauma or illness. Conversely, those with 2019-nCoV develop the illness when they get the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This can happen following interactions with someone with the infection.

The symptoms of ARDS include:

  • extreme shortness of breath
  • breathing faster
  • fast heart rate
  • pain when breathing
  • fingernails and lips have a blueish color

The earliest known published documentation of ARDS was in 1821, and it describes a buildup of fluid and swelling of the lungs without heart failure. By 1950, pulmonary edema, or swelling of the lungs, had become a widely accepted condition that the National Library of Medicine recognized.

However, it was not until 1967 that “acute respiratory distress in adults” featured in an article in the Lancet. This article reported the various abnormalities that could cause ARDS to develop. From that point, ARDS became universally recognized, even though the methods of diagnosis were not fully developed.

There is no real connection between 2019-nCoV and ARDS, except that when 2019-nCoV is severe enough, it can manifest as ARDS. It is this issue that contributed to the significant shortage of ventilators during the pandemic.

The first appearance of 2019-nCoV was in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Scientists speculate that the disease resulted from a coronavirus strain that transferred from animals to humans.

Anyone can get a SARS-CoV-2 infection, but the following conditions and factors increase the risk of becoming severely ill with 2019-nCoV:

The three most common conditions leading to ARDS are:

However, although these conditions predispose someone to ARDS, only a small number of individuals develop the syndrome.

Genetic variants can also make someone more likely to develop ARDS, so it is essential to consider any family history.

Other risk factors for ARDS include:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently approves only one drug to treat COVID-19: remdesivir. This antiviral drug works by interrupting the production of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Scientists originally developed it more than a decade ago to treat hepatitis C. Since then, experts have used it as a treatment for other viruses, including SARS-CoV-2.

Viruses cause infections by using the body’s cells to make copies of themselves. This replication process requires specific enzymes. Remdesivir works by interfering with one of these enzymes, preventing the virus from multiplying and infecting other cells.

However, doctors only prescribe this medication for individuals with severe cases of COVID-19. Most people with milder illness only need to use home remedies such as:

  • drinking plenty of water
  • resting
  • taking over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to reduce any fever

Those at risk of severe disease and complications should seek emergency attention. In these cases, doctors can use various therapies to attempt to stop the virus from multiplying and reduce the body’s overactive immune response.

Most people who develop 2019-nCoV recover within a few weeks. However, some individuals may experience new symptoms that occur after recovery, including:

  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • loss of smell
  • brain fog
  • headaches
  • stomach or chest pain
  • joint or muscle pain
  • diarrhea
  • heart palpitations
  • sleep problems
  • rash
  • fever
  • lightheadedness

The 7-day average for the number of hospitalizations due to 2019-nCoV at the end of October 2021 was 5,404. In addition, the 7-day average for the number of deaths was 1,129. However, hospitalization and death rates have continued to fluctuate since the appearance of the virus.

A 2021 study of 1,283 people in the hospital with 2019-nCoV found that the mortality rates in intensive care units range from 20–62%. However, this number jumps to 50–97% when people need mechanical ventilation. In addition, people with 2019-nCoV who develop ARDS have a mortality rate of 52%.

Learn about long COVID.

The disease 2019-nCoV occurs when a person gets a SARS-CoV-2 viral infection. ARDS is a separate condition that results from a lung injury, but some individuals with 2019-nCoV may go on to develop ARDS.

Risk factors for 2019-nCoV generally include diseases and conditions that suppress the immune system, while the primary risk factors for ARDS are pneumonia, sepsis, and shock.

Most people with 2019-nCoV recover after only a few weeks, but mortality rates are higher among those with severe forms of the illness.