Virology, transmission, and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2

Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019, there has been an unparalleled global effort to characterise the virus and the clinical course of disease. Coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, follows a biphasic pattern of illness that likely results from the combination of an early viral response phase and an inflammatory second phase. Most clinical presentations are mild, and the typical pattern of covid-19 more resembles an influenza-like illness—which includes fever, cough, malaise, myalgia, headache, and taste and smell disturbance—rather than severe pneumonia (although emerging evidence about long term consequences is yet to be understood in detail).1 In this review, we provide a broad update on the emerging understanding of SARS-CoV-2 pathophysiology, including virology, transmission dynamics, and the immune response to the virus. Any of the mechanisms and assumptions discussed in the article and in our understanding of covid-19 may be revised as further evidence emerges.

Read full text: Cevik Muge, Kuppalli Krutika, Kindrachuk Jason, Peiris Malik. Virology, transmission, and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. BMJ 2020; 371 :m3862