Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2, is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus with epithelial cell and respiratory system proclivity. Like its predecessor, SARS-CoV, COVID-19 can lead to life-threatening disease. Due to wide geographic impact affecting an extremely high proportion of the world population it was defined by the World Health Organization as a global public health pandemic. The infection is known to readily spread from person-to-person. This occurs through liquid droplets by cough, sneeze, hand-to-mouth-to-eye contact and through contaminated hard surfaces. Close human proximity accelerates SARS-CoV-2 spread. COVID-19 is a systemic disease that can move beyond the lungs by blood-based dissemination to affect multiple organs. These organs include the kidney, liver, muscles, nervous system, and spleen. The primary cause of SARS-CoV-2 mortality is acute respiratory distress syndrome initiated by epithelial infection and alveolar macrophage activation in the lungs. The early cell-based portal for viral entry is through the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor. Viral origins are zoonotic with genomic linkages to the bat coronaviruses but without an identifiable intermediate animal reservoir. There are currently few therapeutic options, and while many are being tested, although none are effective in curtailing the death rates. There is no available vaccine yet. Intense global efforts have targeted research into a better understanding of the epidemiology, molecular biology, pharmacology, and pathobiology of SARS-CoV-2. These fields of study will provide the insights directed to curtailing this disease outbreak with intense international impact. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2)
- Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
- Immunology and Allergy