Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(15):2906-2923. doi:10.7150/ijbs.48812

Review

Update of the current knowledge on genetics, evolution, immunopathogenesis, and transmission for coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19)

Kalthoum Tizaoui1, Ines Zidi1, Keum Hwa Lee2, Ramy Abou Ghayda3,4, Sung Hwi Hong4,5, Han Li6, Lee Smith7, Ai Koyanagi8,9, Louis Jacob8,10, Andreas Kronbichler11, Jae Il Shin2✉

1. Laboratory Microorganismes and Active Biomolecules, Sciences Faculty of Tunis, University Tunis El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia.
2. Department of Pediatrics, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
3. Division of Urology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
4. Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston MA, USA.
5. Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
6. University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.
7. The Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, CB1 1PT, UK.
8. Research and Development Unit, Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM, 08830 Barcelona, Spain.
9. ICREA, Pg. Lluis Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain.
10. Faculty of Medicine, University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 78000 Versailles, France.
11. Department of Internal Medicine IV (Nephrology and Hypertension), Medical University Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020, Austria.

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Citation:
Tizaoui K, Zidi I, Lee KH, Ghayda RA, Hong SH, Li H, Smith L, Koyanagi A, Jacob L, Kronbichler A, Shin JI. Update of the current knowledge on genetics, evolution, immunopathogenesis, and transmission for coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19). Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(15):2906-2923. doi:10.7150/ijbs.48812. Available from http://www.ijbs.com/v16p2906.htm

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Abstract

In December 2019, an acute respiratory disease caused by novel species of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in China and has spread throughout the world. On 11th March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) a pandemic, severe coronavirus-mediated human disease. Based on genomic and phylogenetic studies, SARS-CoV-2 might originate from bat coronaviruses and infects humans directly or through intermediate zoonotic hosts. However, the exact origin or the host intermediate remains unknown. Genetically, SARS-CoV-2 is similar to several existing coronaviruses, particularly SARS-CoV, but differs by silent and non-silent mutations. The virus uses different transmission routes and targets cells and tissues with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein, which makes it contagious. COVID-19 shares both the main clinical features and excessive/dysregulated cell responses with the two previous Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS) epidemics. In this review, we provide an update of the current knowledge on the COVID-19 pandemic. Gaining a deeper understanding of SARS-CoV-2 structure, transmission routes, and molecular responses, will assist in the prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreaks in the future.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, genetic variation, SARS-CoV-2 genomics, evolution, Immunity, transmission