Front Biosci (Elite Ed). 2021 Jan 1;13:117-139.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a member of the human coronavirus (HCoV) family that targets the lower part of the respiratory tract and causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). In a short span of time, this infection has led to a global pandemic and has become a significant threat to the existence of present human society. Currently, there are no treatments for this infection and the measures established across various countries such as social distancing, usage of mask to prevent entry of the virus into the respiratory tract, quarantine, and containment together have reduced the prevalence of this disease and mortality in highly susceptible individuals. Here, we examine the structure, replication cycle, phylogeny and genomic organization of this virus and discuss the role of spike (S) protein of the virus, an important structure that interacts with the host ACE2 receptor facilitating viral entry. Further, we explore the epidemiology, symptoms of the disease, describe the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) that establishes the diagnosis of the disease and also review its unique diagnostic features in the chest CT-Scan. Finally, we review the current approaches to develop therapies and vaccines as a measure for disease prevention and control.