Postgrad Med J. 2020 Aug 11:postgradmedj-2020-138386. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2020-138386. Online ahead of print.
SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that is the cause of a serious life-threatening disease known as COVID-19. It was first noted to have occurred in Wuhan, China in November 2019 and the WHO reported the first case on December 31, 2019. The outbreak was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020 and by May 30, 2020, a total of 5 899 866 positive cases were registered including 364 891 deaths. SARS-CoV-2 primarily targets the lung and enters the body through ACE2 receptors. Typical symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue, yet some atypical symptoms like loss of smell and taste have also been described. 20% require hospital admission due to severe disease, a third of whom need intensive support. Treatment is primarily supportive, however, prognosis is dismal in those who need invasive ventilation. Trials are ongoing to discover effective vaccines and drugs to combat the disease. Preventive strategies aim at reducing the transmission of disease by contact tracing, washing of hands, use of face masks and government-led lockdown of unnecessary activities to reduce the risk of transmission.