COVID-19 Glossary

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World Health Organization

A global organization that directs international health for the United Nations. They study communicable and non-communicable diseases, illnesses caused by environmental factors like pollution and illnesses caused by germs. They are coordinating the global response to COVID-19 and tracking its spread.



Zinc is a mineral that may have antiviral properties. Some studies suggest that zinc can reduce the length and severity of a cold if you take it within the first 24 hours of a disease. But some people have criticized those studies and others haven’t found an association. The Mayo Clinic does not recommend the use of zinc to treat colds, or any other virus.


A disease that infects humans but originally came from other animals. The genetic sequence of the COVID-19 virus is similar to a coronavirus found in bats, so that may be where this disease originated. It may also have passed through other species on the way to humans, like snakes. Some zoonotic diseases, such as Zika and malaria, cannot be passed from person to person without an animal host.

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