Etymology of Coronavirus and COVID-19

It is a combination that emerges from the comparison between the well-defined shape of the outermost part of the sun which emits sparks of fire – observed mainly during an eclipse – and the bulges in the circular biological appearance of microorganisms, which are visible under a microscope’s magnifying glass; As such, it is formed by the Latin corōna, interpreted as a symbol of royalty as well as a decorative form, with roots in the Indo-European *sker-, which refers to ‘change’ or ‘bend’ an object; and virus, which responds to the Latin as a virus in allusion to a poisonous agent (noting that the word poison is given in the Latin as venēnum). This name was documented in November 1968 in the publication entitled ‘Virology: Coronaviruses’ in Nature, a renowned scientific journal where a group of researchers on avian flu and other infectious agents were consulted, pointing out the similarity of the appearance of this class of microorganisms with the solar corona.

On the other hand, the name COVID-19is an abbreviation for ‘coronavirus disease 2019’, to identify the current pandemic (pandēmía in Greek) that registered the first case on November 17th in China, in the city of Wuhan, and four months later forced the world to take extreme measures, closing air access for flights from countries at risk such as Japan, China and all of Europe, observing Italy as the major focus of the spread.

In total, there are 7 documented coronaviruses to date, grouped into two levels of severity:

– The simplest and most common being 229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1.

– And those that imply greater severity from the time of infection: MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, registered in Saudi Arabia in 2012), SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, tracing its origin to China in 2002) and the one that corresponds to the analysis SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19.

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