SARS-CoV-2: an Emerging Coronavirus that Causes a Global Threat

Int J Biol Sci. 2020 Mar 15;16(10):1678-1685. doi: 10.7150/ijbs.45053. eCollection 2020.


An ongoing outbreak of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus, currently designated as the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), was reported recently. However, as SARS-CoV-2 is an emerging virus, we know little about it. In this review, we summarize the key events occurred during the early stage of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, the basic characteristics of the pathogen, the signs and symptoms of the infected patients as well as the possible transmission pathways of the virus. Furthermore, we also review the current knowledge on the origin and evolution of the SARS-CoV-2. We highlight bats as the potential natural reservoir and pangolins as the possible intermediate host of the virus, but their roles are waiting for further investigation. Finally, the advances in the development of chemotherapeutic options are also briefly summarized.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Novel coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2; pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / classification*
  • COVID-19
  • Chiroptera / virology*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / physiopathology
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / physiopathology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Zoonoses / virology*

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment