Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a previously unknown betacoronavirus
that was discovered in bronchoalveolar lavage samples taken from clusters of patients who presented with
pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019.[1] SARS-CoV-2
belongs to the Sarbecovirus subgenus of the Coronaviridae family, and is the seventh coronavirus known
to infect humans. The virus has been found to be similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like
coronaviruses from bats, but it is distinct from SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-
CoV.[16] [17] The full genome has been determined and published in GenBank. [GenBank]
Coronaviruses are a large family of enveloped RNA viruses, some of which cause illness in people (e.g.,
common cold, SARS, MERS), and others that circulate among mammals (e.g., bats, camels) and birds.
Rarely, animal coronaviruses can spread to humans and subsequently spread between people, as was the
case with SARS and MERS.
A majority of patients in the initial stages of this outbreak reported a link to the Huanan South China Seafood
Market, a live animal or ‘wet’ market, suggesting a zoonotic origin of the virus.[4] [5] [18] While the potential
animal reservoir and intermediary host(s) are unknown at this point, studies suggest they may derive from a
recombinant virus between the bat coronavirus and an origin-unknown coronavirus; however, this is yet to be
confirmed.[16] [17] [19] [20]
Transmission dynamics of the virus are currently unknown and the situation is evolving. Person-to-person
spread has been confirmed in community and healthcare settings in China and other countries.[14] An
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