Overview of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Treatment Updates and Advances

J Chin Med Assoc. 2020 Jun 9. doi: 10.1097/JCMA.0000000000000367. Online ahead of print.


In late December 2019, several cases of pneumonia with unknown cause were reported in Wuhan, China, and this new type of pneumonia spread rapidly to across provinces during the subsequent weeks. The pathogen was identified quickly and was named as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The infectious disease caused by this virus is referred to as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Within months, it has caused a global pandemic and posed a major threat to public health worldwide. As of May 23, 2020, 5,252,452 patients have been confirmed to have the disease, and 339,026 deaths have been reported. Multiple therapeutic trials are ongoing, and some promising results have been released. A vaccine would provide the most effective approach to fight the virus by preventing infection, but none are currently available. To control the COVID-19 outbreak, large-scale measures have been applied to reduce human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Susceptible populations, including older adults, children, and health care providers, warrant particular attention to avoid transmission and infection. This review introduces current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection and treatment strategies, emphasizing the relevant challenges associated with prevention, diagnosis, and management.