Comparative overview of emerging RNA viruses: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and current treatment

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2022 Jul;79:103985. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2022.103985. Epub 2022 Jun 11.

Abstract

From many decades, emerging infections have threatened humanity. The pandemics caused by different CoVs have already claimed and will continue to claim millions of lives. The SARS, Ebola, MERS epidemics and the most recent emergence of COVID-19 pandemic have threatened populations across borders. Since a highly pathogenic CoV has been evolved into the human population in the twenty-first century known as SARS, scientific advancements and innovative methods to tackle these viruses have increased in order to improve response preparedness towards the unpredictable threat posed by these rapidly emerging pathogens. Recently published review articles on SARS-CoV-2 have mainly focused on its pathogenesis, epidemiology and available treatments. However, in this review, we have done a systematic comparison of all three CoVs i.e., SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2 along with Ebola and Zika in terms of their epidemiology, virology, clinical features and current treatment strategies. This review focuses on important emerging RNA viruses starting from Zika, Ebola and the CoVs which include SARS, MERS and SARS-CoV-2. Each of these viruses has been elaborated on the basis of their epidemiology, virulence, transmission and treatment. However, special attention has been given to SARS-CoV-2 and the disease caused by it i.e., COVID-19 due to current havoc caused worldwide. At the end, insights into the current understanding of the lessons learned from previous epidemics to combat emerging CoVs have been described. The travel-related viral spread, the unprecedented nosocomial outbreaks and the high case-fatality rates associated with these highly transmissible and pathogenic viruses highlight the need for new prophylactic and therapeutic actions which include but are not limited to clinical indicators, contact tracing, and laboratory investigations as important factors that need to be taken into account in order to arrive at the final conclusion.

Keywords: COVID-19; Emerging diseases; MERS; RNA virus; SARS.

Publication types

  • Review