The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus is the cause of an infection known as coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 has become a global source of morbidity, mortality and social disruption since its emergence in East Asia in late 2019 and subsequent pandemic spread. Typical symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever, and sudden loss of taste and smell. Persistent, post-infection sequelae have been noted in a minority of cases. Severe complications and deaths occur mostly in older adults. Laboratory confirmation can be performed by viral RNA and antigen detection in nasal swabs or by detecting specific neutralizing antibodies. There is no effective and approved antiviral treatment, but several vaccines with favourable safety and efficacy profiles are being used in mass vaccination programmes. Vaccine-based COVID control should be seen as an addition to existing hygiene measures such as physical distancing, increased hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and barrier protection with personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers and other high-risk professions.

Keyword(s): COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 and virus
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. World Health Organization COVID-19 website. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 .
  2. World Health Organization Laboratory biosafety guidance related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Interim Guidance. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/laboratorybiosafety-guidance-related-to-coronavirus-disease-(covid-19) .
  3. Docherty AB, Harrison EM, Green CA, Hardwick HE, Pius R et al. Features of 20 133 UK patients in hospital with covid-19 using the ISARIC WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol: prospective observational cohort study. BMJ 2020; 369:m1985 [View Article][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  4. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control COVID-19 pandemic. https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/covid-19-pandemic .
  5. CDNA Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) CDNA National Guidelines for public health units. https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cdna-song-novelcoronavirus.htm .
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19). https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html .
  7. Tang Y-W, Schmitz JE, Persing DH, Stratton CW. Laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19: current issues and challenges. J Clin Microbiol 2020; 58:e00512–00520 [View Article][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Chu DK, Akl EA, Duda S, Solo K, Yaacoub S. Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection prevent person-to-person transmission SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet 2020; 395:1973–1987 [View Article][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Zhou G, Chen S, Chen Z. Advances in COVID-19: the virus, the pathogenesis, and evidence-based control and therapeutic strategies. Front Med 2020; 14:117–125 [View Article][PubMed]
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error