Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
SARS-CoV-2, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, is the virus identified that caused the severe viral pneumonia outbreak in the Wuhan, Hubei, China. This disease has been designated at COVID-19. The virus has caused a widespread outbreak in China and has now been discovered in more than 60 countries around the world with more than 3000 deaths. The origin of the virus is attributed to a seafood and animal market located within Wuhan.
Individuals infected with the virus can present severe, mild or no symptoms. The populations most at risk for developing severe COVID-19 are those age 65 and older and those with underlying conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
There is no cure or treatment for SARS-CoV-19 at present.