Novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV: prevalence, biological and clinical characteristics comparison with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV

S A Meo, A M Alhowikan, T Al-Khlaiwi, I M Meo, D M Halepoto, M Iqbal, A M Usmani, W Hajjar, N Ahmed
European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 2020, 24 (4): 2012-2019

OBJECTIVE: Human infections with zoonotic coronavirus contain emerging and reemerging pathogenic characteristics which have raised great public health concern. This study aimed at investigating the global prevalence, biological and clinical characteristics of novel coronavirus, Wuhan China (2019-nCoV), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection outbreaks.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The data on the global outbreak of "2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV" were obtained from World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), concerned ministries and research institutes. We also recorded the information from research documents published in global scientific journals indexed in ISI Web of Science and research centers on the prevalence, biological and clinical characteristics of 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV.

RESULTS: Worldwide, SARS-CoV involved 32 countries, with 8422 confirmed cases and 916 (10.87%) casualties from November 2002 to August 2003. MERS-CoV spread over 27 states, causing 2496 cases and 868 (34.77%) fatalities during the period April 2012 to December 2019. However, the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV spread swiftly the global borders of 27 countries. It infected 34799 people and resulted in 724 (2.08%) casualties during the period December 29, 2019 to February 7, 2020. The fatality rate of coronavirus MERS-CoV was (34.77%) higher than SARS-CoV (10.87%) and 2019-nCoV (2.08%); however, the 2019-nCoV transmitted rapidly in comparison to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

CONCLUSIONS: The novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV has diverse epidemiological and biological characteristics, making it more contagious than SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. It has affected more people in a short time period compared to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, although the fatality rate of MERS-CoV was higher than SARS-CoV and 2019-nCoV. The major clinical manifestations in coronavirus infections 2019-nCoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS CoV are fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, generalized myalgia, malaise, drowsy, diarrhea, confusion, dyspnea, and pneumonia. Global health authorities should take immediate measures to prevent the outbreaks of such emerging and reemerging pathogens across the globe to minimize the disease burden locally and globally.

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