The New Coronavirus

Posted April 6, 2020

Worldwide attention is focused on the new Coronavirus (COVID-19). This disease is triggered by a pathogen belonging to a family of viruses that cause respiratory infections, has symptoms similar to those of a bad cold, and may lead to death. However, it is not time to panic, but rather to promote awareness and empathy. 

The first case was identified at the end of December 2019 in Wuhuan, China, and has spread across the continents. Currently, it has reached a pandemic status, and several countries have been experiencing social distancing. 

Authorities of several places are mobilizing to contain pandemic through precautionary measures. Despite the great amount of information conveyed by a variety of media, it is important for that the population keep calm and follow the guidelines disseminated by medical entities. 

Risk Groups 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some population groups are more vulnerable to COVID-19, namely: the elderly and people with diabetes, hypertension, chronic renal failure, chronic respiratory disease, and cardiovascular disease. 

It is worth remembering that this risk is related complications and not to contamination. 


Coronavirus penetrates through oral, nasal and ocular mucosa and especially affects the respiratory tract. Transmission happens when an infected person gets in contact with another person.

Moreover, the virus can also survive on some contact surfaces, such as chairs, doorknobs, tables, which have been contaminated with droplets from sneeze or cough. Thus, there is risk of contamination by touching a given object. Hence the importance of frequent sanitation. 

Coronavirus and Brazil 

Currently, many Brazilian municipalities are quarantined as a safety measure. To date, São Paulo is the place with the highest number of cases in Brazil. There are also deaths due to Coronavirus. 

Brazilian mass media has attempted to do its part by disseminating the greatest amount of information in the shortest time possible. 

Researchers from INCT/Hormona are aware of the possible impact of infection with the new virus on female and male reproductive health, pregnancy, and fetal development.

So far, there is little information on the possible risk for maternal and fetal complications if the infection is acquired before or during pregnancy. However, based on knowledge about other viruses, prudence recommends pregnancy plans are postponed to after the pandemic passes.

At the same time, we have been directing our research efforts in attempting to answer some of these important unresolved questions. We also endorse the recommendations by professional societies from Brazil (, Latin America Latina (, Europe (, and the United States (, which are being constantly reviewed and updated.

The National System of Information on Teratogenic Agents (Sistema Nacional de Informação sobre Agentes Teratogênicos, SIAT) may also additional evidence-based information for pregnant women and physicians

Which are the Symptoms? 

The most common symptoms are fever, cough, and breathing difficulty. Only cases of respiratory deficiency are recommended to seek for hospital care or a health center or to call 136. 

Online Monitoring

Several digital tools have been created to update data and call people’s attention, one of which was organized using Google Trends and monitors dados by country and on a real time basis – 

Page of realtime Trends data around Coronavirus

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Is it Possible to Prevent COVID-19?

So far, there is no vaccine to prevent this disease. Compliance with guidelines from medical entities is essential to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Below are some of these guidelines are:

– Wash your hands often with water and soap for at least 20 seconds;

– Avoid crowding;

– Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth if you are in a public place with your hands dirty;

– Keep spaces clean and ventilated; – Do not share personal objects such as cutlery, towels, dishes, and cups.