The 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak - A Global Threat

J Assoc Physicians India. 2020 Mar;68(3):67-71.


The 2019 Novel Corona virus infection (COVID 19) is an ongoing public health emergency of international significance. There are significant knowledge gaps in the epidemiology, transmission dynamics, investigation tools and management. In this article, we review the available evidence about this disease. Every decade has witnessed the evolution of a new coronavirus epidemic since the last three decades. The varying transmission patterns, namely, nosocomial transmission and spread through mildly symptomatic cases is an area of concern. There is a spectrum of clinical features from mild to severe life threatening disease with major complications like severe pneumonia, ARDS, acute cardiac injury and septic shock. Presence of bilateral ground glass opacity and consolidation on imaging in appropriate clinical background should raise a suspicion about COVID 19. Poor prognostic factors include Multilobular infiltration on chest imaging, Lymphopenia, Bacterial co-infection, Smoking history, Chronic medical conditions like Hypertension and age >60 years (MuLBSTA score). Diagnosis is confirmed with PCR based testing of appropriate respiratory samples. Management is primarily supportive, with newer antivirals (lopinavir ritonavir and Remdesivir) under investigation. Role of steroids is still inconclusive. Standard infection control and prevention techniques should be followed. Vigilant screening of suspected cases and their contacts is important. Isolation of symptomatic cases and home quarantine of asymptomatic contacts is recommended. To conclude, controlling this highly transmissible disease requires international co-ordination.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus Infections*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral
  • SARS-CoV-2