JOURNAL ARTICLE

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19): The epidemic and the challenges

Chih-Cheng Lai, Tzu-Ping Shih, Wen-Chien Ko, Hung-Jen Tang, Po-Ren Hsueh
International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 2020, 55 (3): 105924
32081636
The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; previously provisionally named 2019 novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV) disease (COVID-19) in China at the end of 2019 has caused a large global outbreak and is a major public health issue. As of 11 February 2020, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) have shown that more than 43 000 confirmed cases have been identified in 28 countries/regions, with >99% of cases being detected in China. On 30 January 2020, the WHO declared COVID-19 as the sixth public health emergency of international concern. SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to two bat-derived severe acute respiratory syndrome-like coronaviruses, bat-SL-CoVZC45 and bat-SL-CoVZXC21. It is spread by human-to-human transmission via droplets or direct contact, and infection has been estimated to have mean incubation period of 6.4 days and a basic reproduction number of 2.24-3.58. Among patients with pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus pneumonia or Wuhan pneumonia), fever was the most common symptom, followed by cough. Bilateral lung involvement with ground-glass opacity was the most common finding from computed tomography images of the chest. The one case of SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in the USA is responding well to remdesivir, which is now undergoing a clinical trial in China. Currently, controlling infection to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is the primary intervention being used. However, public health authorities should keep monitoring the situation closely, as the more we can learn about this novel virus and its associated outbreak, the better we can respond.

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