Viruses are very tiny germs. They are made of genetic material inside of a protein coating. They are too small to be seen by a microscope and are able to multiply (grow) in the cells of a living person.
Like hijackers, viruses invade living, normal cells and use those cells to multiply and produce other viruses like themselves. This can kill, damage, or change the cells and make you sick. Different viruses attack certain cells in your body such as your liver, respiratory system, or blood.
Most viral infections cannot be cured with medications. Medications can be used to manage the symptoms of a virus while your immune system is fighting it, but they will not cure it.
Viral infections are different from bacterial infections such as strep throat chlamydia, otitis media (earache). Unlike bacterial infections, viral infections can not be treated by antibiotics.
A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
A new virus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been identified as the cause of a disease outbreak that began in China in 2019. The disease is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The virus is a type of coronavirus — a family of viruses that can cause illnesses such as the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).