Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2): a global pandemic and treatment strategies

Atul Sharma, Swapnil Tiwari, Manas Kanti Deb, Jean Louis Marty
International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents 2020, 56 (2): 106054
The emergence and rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a potentially fatal disease, is swiftly leading to public health crises worldwide. The origin of SARS-CoV-2 infection was first reported in people exposed to a seafood market in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. It has been suggested that the infection is likely to be of zoonotic origin and transmitted to humans through a not-yet-known intermediary. As of 22 May 2020, the World Health Organization reported that there were approximately 4,995,996 confirmed cases and 327,821 deaths. SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted via inhalation or direct contact with droplets from infected people. It has an incubation period ranging from 2 to ≥14 days. The rate of spread of SARS-CoV-2 is greater than that for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and Middle East respiratory coronavirus. The symptoms are similar to influenza (i.e. breathlessness, sore throat and fatigue) and infected cases are isolated and treated. Infection is mild in most cases, but in elderly (>50 years) patients and those with cardiac and respiratory disorders, it may progress to pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and multi-organ failure. People with strong immunity or those who have developed herd immunity are asymptomatic. The fatality rate ranges from 3% to 4%. Recommended methods for diagnosis of COVID-19 are molecular tests (e.g. polymerase chain reaction) on respiratory secretions, chest scan and common laboratory diagnosis. Currently, treatment is essentially supportive, and the role of antiviral agents is yet to be established as a vaccine is not yet available. This review will focus on epidemiology, symptoms, transmission, pathogenesis, ongoing available treatments and future perspectives of SARS-CoV-2.

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