Epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentations, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19: a review of current evidence

Expert Rev Clin Pharmacol. 2021 May;14(5):601-621. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2021.1902303. Epub 2021 May 3.


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has created a public health crisis, infected millions of people, and caused a significant number of deaths. SARS-CoV-2 transmits from person to person through several routes, mainly via respiratory droplets, which makes it difficult to contain its spread into the community. Here, we provide an overview of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.

Areas covered: Direct person-to-person respiratory transmission has rapidly amplified the spread of coronavirus. In the absence of any clinically proven treatment options, the current clinical management of COVID-19 includes symptom management, infection prevention and control measures, optimized supportive care, and intensive care support in severe or critical illness. Developing an effective vaccine is now a leading research priority. Some vaccines have already been approved by the regulatory authorities for the prevention of COVID-19.

Expert opinion: General prevention and protection measures regarding the containment and management of the second or third waves are necessary to minimize the risk of infection. Until now, four vaccines reported variable efficacies of between 62-95%, and two of them (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) received FDA emergency use authorization. Equitable access and effective distribution of these vaccines in all countries will save millions of lives.

Keywords: COVID-19; clinical presentations; diagnosis; epidemiology; pathogenesis; sars-cov-2; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • COVID-19 / therapy
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / standards*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Incubation Period
  • Public Health Administration
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology*


  • Antiviral Agents
  • COVID-19 Vaccines

Grants and funding

This paper was not funded.