Background: The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus-2 is a novel coronavirus belonging to the family Coronaviridae and is now known to be responsible for the outbreak of a series of recent acute atypical respiratory infections originating in Wuhan, China. The disease caused by this virus, termed coronavirus disease 19 or simply COVID-19, has rapidly spread throughout the world at an alarming pace and has been declared a pandemic by the WHO on March 11, 2020. In this review, an update on the pathophysiology, clinical presentation and the most recent management strategies for COVID-19 has been described.
Materials and methods: A search was conducted for literature and various articles/case reports from 1997 to 2020 in PUBMED/MEDLINE for the keywords coronavirus, SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome and mRNA virus.
Results and conclusions: COVID-19 has now spread globally with increasing morbidity and mortality among all populations. In the absence of a proper and effective antibody test, the diagnosis is presently based on a reverse-transcription PCR of nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab samples. The clinical spectrum of the disease presents in the form of a mild, moderate or severe illness. Most patients are either asymptomatic carriers who despite being without symptoms have the potential to be infectious to others coming in close contact, or have a mild influenza-like illness which cannot be differentiated from a simple upper respiratory tract infection. Moderate and severe cases require hospitalisation as well as intensive therapy which includes non-invasive as well as invasive ventilation, along with antipyretics, antivirals, antibiotics and steroids. Complicated cases may require treatment by immunomodulatory drugs and plasma exchange therapy. The search for an effective vaccine for COVID-19 is presently in full swing, with pharmaceutical corporations having started human trials in many countries.
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2021. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.