Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): An overview of viral structure and host response

Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2020 Jul-Aug;14(4):407-412. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2020.04.020. Epub 2020 Apr 18.


Background and aim: As a result of its rapid spread in various countries around the world, on March 11, 2020, WHO issued an announcement of the change in coronavirus disease 2019 status from epidemic to pandemic disease. The virus that causes this disease is indicated originating from animals traded in a live animal market in Wuhan, China. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 can attack lung cells because there are many conserved receptor entries, namely Angiotensin Converting Enzyme-2. The presence of this virus in host cells will initiate various protective responses leading to pneumonia and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. This review aimed to provide an overview related to this virus and examine the body's responses and possible therapies.

Method: We searched PubMed databases for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2, Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Full texts were retrieved, analyzed and developed into an easy-to-understand review.

Results: We provide a complete review related to structure, origin, and how the body responds to this virus infection and explain the possibility of an immune system over-reaction or cytokine storm. We also include an explanation of how this virus creates modes of avoidance to evade immune system attacks. We further explain the therapeutic approaches that can be taken in the treatment and prevention of this viral infection.

Conclusion: In summary, based on the structural and immune-evasion system of coronavirus, we suggest several approaches to treat the disease.

Keywords: ACE2; COVID-19; Pandemic; SARS-CoV-2; Wuhan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2
  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • Betacoronavirus / physiology
  • Betacoronavirus / ultrastructure*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / immunology
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / physiology
  • Pandemics
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A / metabolism
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • SARS Virus / immunology
  • SARS Virus / physiology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Viral Proteins / physiology
  • Virus Replication


  • Cytokines
  • Viral Proteins
  • Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A
  • ACE2 protein, human
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2