In December 2019, an acute respiratory disease caused by novel species of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in China and has spread throughout the world. On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) a pandemic, severe coronavirus-mediated human disease. Based on genomic and phylogenetic studies, SARS-CoV-2 might originate from bat coronaviruses and infects humans directly or through intermediate zoonotic hosts. However, the exact origin or the host intermediate remains unknown. Genetically, SARS-CoV-2 is similar to several existing coronaviruses, particularly SARS-CoV, but differs by silent and non-silent mutations. The virus uses different transmission routes and targets cells and tissues with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein, which makes it contagious. COVID-19 shares both the main clinical features and excessive/dysregulated cell responses with the two previous Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS) epidemics. In this review, we provide an update of the current knowledge on the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaining a deeper understanding of SARS-CoV-2 structure, transmission routes, and molecular responses, will assist in the prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreaks in the future.