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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5358
Vol. 21, No. 6, 2021, pp. 18170-18191
Bioline Code: nd21067
Full paper language: English
Document type: Review Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 21, No. 6, 2021, pp. 18170-18191

Lokuruka, M


SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, has resulted in high mortalities and global socio-economic disruptions. As knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 evolves, the public requires up to date and appropriate information in order to keep safe in the absence of a proven vaccine. This review of the literature was written to provide the latest information on the virus and the disease. SARS-CoV-2 bears a higher genomic homology to SARS-CoV-1 than MERS-CoV-1. Globally, COVID-19 has caused more than 4.07 million deaths and infected over 188 million people by 16th July, 2021. In Africa, more than 4.5 million and over 106,000 people have been infected and died, respectively. In Kenya, over 191,000 have been infected and 3,746 people have died from COVID-19 by the date. The figure for Kenya is much lower than the over 150,000 deaths from the Spanish flu of 1918-20. SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted through expiratory droplets and direct contact, while faecal and airborne transmission have been documented, but not confirmed. It enters the body through nasal passages, conjunctiva or mouth. It can survive on bank notes, vinyl plastic, mobile phone, glass, cardboard, cloth fabric and stainless steel for varying periods. At 50% Rh, it can survive on stainless steel, vinyl plastic and glass at 20, 30 and 40oC for 28, 7 days and less than a day, respectively. On cotton fabrics, it can survive for 7, 3 days and less than 24 hr at 20, 30 and 40oC, respectively. Age, late hospitalization, diabetes co-morbidity, obesity, chronic lung disease and hypertension are the major risk factors for COVID-19 mortality. Age and laboratory indicators are predictors of mortality. Vaccines allowed for emergency use include the Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna, Sinopharm, SINOVAC, Sputnik V and Johnson and Johnson. Although they all have shown high efficacy against the original COVID-19 strains globally, they have lower efficacy against the Brazilian P.1, the UK B.1.1.7, Finnish FIN-796H, the New Jersey/New York B.1.526, the South African B.1.351 and the Indian Delta mutant. Regular hand washing, face masking, avoiding overcrowding, physical distancing, outdoor communing, seeking immediate medical attention and isolating when infected, all can minimize SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Potential infection from frozen foods packaging, frozen foods and food preparation surfaces has been demonstrated. However, good hygiene practices can minimize infection from foods, shopping bags, take-out containers and groceries. Animal foods should not be consumed raw, while groceries require thorough washing with potable water during preparation. Despite concerns posed by the continuing evolution of virulent mutants of SARS-CoV-2, researchers are working to develop effective vaccines in order to eliminate the threat of the virus.

Viruses; SARS-CoV-1; MERS-CoV-1; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; transmission; infection; mutation; treatment; prevention

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