The novel zoonotic COVID-19 pandemic: An expected global health concern.J Infect Dev Ctries. 2020 03 31; 14(3):254-264.JI
18 years ago, in 2002, the world was astonished by the appearance of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), supported by a zoonotic coronavirus, called SARS-CoV, from the Guangdong Province of southern China. After about 10 years, in 2012, another similar coronavirus triggered the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia. Both caused severe pneumonia killing 774 and 858 people with 8700 cases of confirmed infection for the former, and 2494 for the latter, causing significant economic losses. 8 years later, despite the MERS outbreak remaining in certain parts of the world, at the end of 2019, a new zoonotic coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and responsible of coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), arose from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. It spread rapidly and to date has killed 3,242 persons with more than 81,000 cases of infection in China and causing over 126,000 global cases and 5,414 deaths in 166 other countries around the world, especially Italy. SARS-CoV-2 would seem to have come from a bat, but the intermediate reservoir continues to be unknown. Nonetheless, as for SARS-CoV and MERS CoV, the Spillover effect linked to animal-human promiscuity, human activities including deforestation, illegal bush-trafficking and bushmeat, cannot be excluded. Recently, however, evidence of inter-human only transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been accumulated and thus, the outbreak seems to be spreading by human-to-human transmission throughout a large part of the world. Herein we will provide with an update on the main features of COVID-19 and suggest possible solutions how to halt the expansion of this novel pandemic.