Advice and Guidelines from The Jack Ma Foundation for the Treatment and Prevention of COVID-19

COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and infects the airways and lung epithelium. The disease was first identified in Wuhan in China in December 2019, and has since spread globally causing a pandemic.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms. The most common symptoms associated with COVID-19 are fever, cough, shortness of breath and in more severe cases pneumonia and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). It has been established that this virus has come from an unknown animal that has been transmitted to humans.

The most vulnerable groups to COVID-19 are the elderly (<65 years old) and those who are immunocompromised, which include those who are suffering or have suffered with cancer, those with autoimmune diseases, those with high blood pressure, or those who are suffering with lung diseases or asthma.

Transmission and Testing

This virus is spread through person-to-person transmission via aerosol droplets produced from sneezing and coughing. In order for the virus to be transmitted, one would need to be within 2 metres of an infected person for a continuous 15 minutes. Additionally, the virus can be transmitted by touching an infected surface. The lifespan of COVID-19 differs depending on the surface.

Surface Lifespan of COVID-19


3 hours


4 hours


24 hours

Stainless Steel

2-3 days

Hard Plastic

3 days

Currently, testing is being done worldwide to detect for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in patient's sample. The most common testing method is using PCR-based test kits, however, the results of testing take an average of 2-3 days to be seen. Assay Genie has recently released a 10 minute test which qualitatively detects severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from patient samples. Using a rapid COVID-19 test provides an opportunity to identify more individuals who are unaware they have been infected. The rapid turnaround in results means that a higher volume of patients can be tested, which can aid in preventing the further spread of the virus. Assay Genie's test can be found here.

Prevention of COVID-19

There is currently no vaccine or anti-viral therapies to treat COVID-19, therefore the best way to prevent being infected is to avoid being exposed to the virus. As this virus is spread through aerosol droplets via coughing and sneezing, it is vital that people practice social distancing by keeping 3 feet from you and someone that is coughing or sneezing. Additionally, by washing hands frequently, it kills any possible viruses on your hands. It is also vital that one avoids touching their eyes, nose or mouth to prevent any possible virus entering the body and causing an infection.

If these measures are not put in place, it will put too much strain on hospitals, as there will be insufficient ICU beds, equipment and protective clothing for healthcare.

Helpful guidelines and information can be found in the guidebook of the clinical experience of how to treat COVID-19. This was written by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation. This guide includes a comprehensive outline that offers advice and tips against the pandemic for medical staff around the world.  

12th May 2020 Sarah Donovan MSc

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