What is COVID-19?

COVID–19 (CoronaVirus Disease–2019) is a disease caused by a new strain of Coronavirus – the SARS–CoV–2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–CoronaVirus–2). Adult patients with COVID–19 develop a variety of symptoms ranging from mild/moderate (fever, dry cough, headache and muscular pain) to severe (pneumonia, and breathing difficulties associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome) or, in some instances, death. In children under 5 years of age, SARS-CoV-2 can cause a vasculitis-like syndrome known as Kawasaki Disease – a paediatric condition characterized by inflammation of blood vessels (e.g. coronary arteries) and other symptoms including fever, red eyes and skin rashes of palms and soles.
For an elegant visual animation on the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the human body, take a look at this beautiful video by Random42 Scientific Communications!

Impact on Global Health and Economy

The outbreak of COVID–19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30th 2020 and a Pandemic on March 11th 2020. As of September 1st 2020, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 850,000 people have succumbed to complications associated with COVID–19, worldwide. This is likely a gross underestimate of the true number of COVID–19–related deaths, which is expected to increase steadily in the coming months, before an effective vaccine or antiviral treatment becomes available. Besides the direct effects of COVID–19 on human health and associated mortality,
COVID–19 is also having an indirect social-economic negative impact. The austere population confinement measures are disrupting normal societal functioning and affecting human mental health on a global scale. Population confinement is also disrupting labour and financial markets worldwide. There is currently a pressing need for the development of an effective treatment for COVID–19.