Transmission and prevention of SARS-CoV-2

Biochem Soc Trans. 2020 Oct 30;48(5):2307-2316. doi: 10.1042/BST20200693.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by a novel virus of the β-coronavirus genus (SARS-CoV-2), has been spreading globally. As of July 2020, there have been more than 17 million cases worldwide. Determining multiple transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 is critical to improving safety practices for the public and stemming the spread of SARS-CoV-2 effectively. This article mainly focuses on published studies on the transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 including contact transmission, droplet transmission, aerosol transmission and fecal-oral transmission, as well as related research approaches, such as epidemiological investigations, environmental sampling in hospitals and laboratories and animal models. We also provide four specific recommendations for the prevention and control of SARS-CoV-2 that may help reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection under different environmental conditions. First, social distancing, rational use of face masks and respirators, eye protection, and hand disinfection for medical staff and the general public deserve further attention and promotion. Second, aerodynamic characteristics, such as size distribution, release regularity, aerosol diffusion, survival and decline, infectious dose and spread distance, still require further investigation in order to identify the transmissibility of COVID-19. Third, background monitoring of the distribution of pathogenic microorganisms and environmental disinfection in crowded public places, such as railway stations, schools, hospitals and other densely populated areas, can give early warning of outbreaks and curb the transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 in those high-risk areas. Forth, establishing novel predictive models can help us to not only assess transmission and impacts in communities, but also better implement corresponding emergency response measures.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; effective prevention; transmission routes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • SARS-CoV-2