J Med Virol. 2020 Oct 21. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26615. Online ahead of print.
Paucity of knowledge about SARS-CoV-2 specific virulence factors has greatly hampered therapeutic management of patients with COVID-19. Recently, a cluster of studies appeared, which presented empirical evidence for SARS-CoV-2 specific virulence factors that can explain key elements of COVID-19 pathology. These studies unravel multiple structural and non-structural specifics of SARS-CoV-2, such as, a unique furin cleavage site, papain-like protease (SCoV2-PLpro), ORF3b and NSP proteins, and dynamic conformational changes in the structure of spike protein during host cell fusion, which give it edge in infectivity and virulence over previous coronaviruses causing pandemics. Investigators provided robust evidence that SARS-CoV-2 specific virulence factors may have impact on viral infectivity and transmissibility, and disease severity as well as development of immunity against the infection including response to the vaccines. In this article, we are presenting a summarized account of the newly reported studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.