Infectious diseases

SARS-COV-2

SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) is a new pathogen that emerged in the Chinese province of Hubei in December 2019 and spread worldwide in the following months having been declared pandemic in March 2020. Coronaviruses are enveloped, positive‐sense, and single‐stranded RNA viruses. SARS-CoV-2 shows great genetic homology with SARS-CoV and other SARS-like bat coronaviruses. 

Clinical features: Transmission occurs mostly from person-to-person via respiratory droplets among close contacts. Aerosol and fomite transmission are plausible.

COVID-19 may manifest either as an asymptomatic infection, a mild upper respiratory tract infection or a severe viral pneumonia with respiratory failure and even death. COVID-19 outbreaks cause significant mortality and morbidity.

The signs and symptoms at illness onset include fever, cough, fatigue, anorexia, shortness of breath, sputum production or myalgias. Age and several co-morbidities (diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory chronic diseases) are strong risk factors for severe illness, complications, and death.

Diagnostic: SARS-CoV-2 can be diagnosed in the laboratory by direct methods to antigen and nucleic acid detection or by serological test to measure the presence of IgM and IgA or IgG antibodies. The spike protein and the nucleoprotein have been suggested as the main targets for the measurement of antibody responses

Treatment: Until today, there is not a specific vaccine or antiviral medication to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected must receive medical care to relieve symptoms. People with severe cases of the disease should be hospitalized. Most patients recover with the help of support measures.

Possible vaccines and different specific pharmacological treatments are being investigated. There are ongoing clinical trials to test them. 

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