A: A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
A: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. There are many types of human coronaviruses, including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.
A: The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use the inside of your elbow.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place; after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
A: People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. People with mild symptoms are able to recover at home. If you experience a medical emergency such as trouble breathing, call 911 and let the operator know you may have COVID-19. For severe illness, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.
Currently there are no FDA-approved drugs specifically for the treatment of COVID-19. Researchers are studying new drugs, and drugs that are already approved for other health conditions, as possible treatments for COVID-19. The FDA is working with drug manufacturers, researchers, and other partners to accelerate the development process for COVID-19 treatments.
A. Many retail stores and pharmacies sell hand sanitizers. However, we understand that many stores have run out of hand sanitizers and they may be difficult to find.
The FDA does not recommend that consumers make their own hand sanitizer. If made incorrectly, hand sanitizer can be ineffective, and there have been reports of skin burns from homemade hand sanitizer. The agency lacks verifiable information on the methods being used to prepare hand sanitizer at home and whether they are safe for use on human skin.
A: At this time there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The FDA is working with vaccine developers and other researchers and manufacturers to help expedite the development and availability of medical products such as vaccines, antibodies, and drugs to prevent COVID-19.
A: Respiratory viruses, in general, are not known to be transmitted by implantation, transplantation, infusion, or transfer of human cells, tissues, or cellular or tissue-based products (HCT/Ps). The potential for transmission of COVID-19 by HCT/Ps is unknown at this time. There have been no reported cases of transmission of COVID-19 via HCT/Ps.
Routine screening measures are already in place for evaluating clinical evidence of infection in HCT/P donors.
A: Convalescent plasma is the liquid part of blood that is collected from patients who have recovered from the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 patients develop antibodies in the blood against the virus. Antibodies are proteins that might help fight the infection. Convalescent plasma is being investigated for the treatment of COVID-19 because there is no approved treatment for this disease and there is some information that suggests it might help some patients recover from COVID-19. Further investigation is still necessary to determine if convalescent plasma might shorten the duration of illness, reduce morbidity, or prevent death associated with COVID-19.
A: No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses; they only work on bacterial infections. Antibiotics do not prevent or treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19), because COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Some patients with COVID-19 may also develop a bacterial infection, such as pneumonia. In that case, a health care professional may treat the bacterial infection with an antibiotic.
A. To be tested for COVID-19, a sample is typically collected from your nose and/or throat with a special swab at a designated collection location staffed by health care professionals. Currently, a health care professional swabbing the back of the nasal cavity through the nostril is the preferred choice. Alternatively, the health care professional could may swab the back of your throat, or for patients with symptoms of COVID-19 the sample could may be collected by swabbing the inside of the front of the nose. Depending on, among other things, the type of swab used, a health care professional may collect the sample, or you may be able to collect the sample yourself at the collection site under the supervision of health care personnel.
A. Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes protective clothing, gowns, gloves, face shields, goggles, face masks, and respirators or other equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness. While it is possible to use 3D printing to make certain PPE, there are technical challenges. 3D-printed PPE may provide a physical barrier, but 3D-printed PPE are unlikely to provide the same fluid barrier and air filtration protection as FDA-cleared surgical masks and N95 respirators.