Coronavirus Disease Pandemic (COVID-19): Challenges and a Global Perspective.Pathogens. 2020 06 28; 9(7)P
The technology-driven world of the 21st century is currently confronted with a major threat to humankind, represented by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome, coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). As of now, COVID-19 has affected more than 6 million confirmed cases and took 0.39 million human lives. SARS-CoV-2 spreads much faster than its two ancestors, SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome-CoV (MERS-CoV), but has low fatality rates. Our analyses speculate that the efficient replication and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 might be due to the high-density basic amino acid residues, preferably positioned in close proximity at both the furin-like cleavage sites (S1/S2 and S2') within the spike protein. Given the high genomic similarities of SARS-CoV-2 to bat SARS-like CoVs, it is likely that bats serve as a reservoir host for its progenitor. Women and children are less susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, while the elderly and people with comorbidities are more prone to serious clinical outcomes, which may be associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and cytokine storm. The cohesive approach amongst researchers across the globe has delivered high-end viral diagnostics. However, home-based point-of-care diagnostics are still under development, which may prove transformative in current COVID-19 pandemic containment. Similarly, vaccines and therapeutics against COVID-19 are currently in the pipeline for clinical trials. In this review, we discuss the noteworthy advancements, focusing on the etiological viral agent, comparative genomic analysis, population susceptibility, disease epidemiology and diagnosis, animal reservoirs, laboratory animal models, disease transmission, therapeutics, vaccine challenges, and disease mitigation measures.