SARS-CoV-2: respiratory and gastrointestinal pathobiology of the corona virus illness, Covid-19

June 4, 2021 Gastroenterology & Hepatology No Comments

This paper summarizes the pathobiology of the recently discovered SARS-CoV-2 virus found to be the infectious agent of the Covid-19 illness. Coronaviruses represent a family of genetically related RNA dependent RNA polymerase viruses of likely zoonotic origin that are known to cause both respiratory and gastrointestinal illness in man and animals. The SARS-CoV-2 virus has been identified as the causative agent in the development of the infectious and highly contagious Covid-19 illness, from its initial discovery in a previously naïve population in December 2019 in Wuhan Province, China. Recent epidemiologic observations indicate that the infective and highly contagious nature of the virus led to the declaration of a world-wide dissemination of the virus and resulting in the classification as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) within 4 months of its original discovery. By January 2020, the virus had begun to spread to other countries, with the first documented cases in the USA in 22January 2020 and in several European nations soon thereafter. While the virus currently has no known cure, recently developed vaccines appear preventative. In addition, several therapeutic agents in concert with supportive measures have demonstrated significant promise in the development of clinical management strategies for Covid-19 illness. If proven successful, some of these therapeutic measures 26 may dramatically reduce the morbidity and mortality rates observed in the current Covid-19 pandemic.

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