Since first reported in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus now known as SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) has spread globally. As of February 27, 2020, more than 82 000 cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2) and 2800 deaths have been reported, of which approximately 95% of cases and 97% of deaths are in China.1 Cases have now been reported in 49 other countries. A particularly large outbreak occurred among the passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where more than 700 infections are reported.
The data surrounding the biology, epidemiology, and clinical characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been growing daily, with more than 400 articles listed in PubMed. The virus genome was rapidly sequenced, which allowed the development of diagnostic tests and for research into vaccine and therapeutics to start. Meanwhile, the clinical spectrum of disease continues to be defined (including the potential for asymptomatic spread) and clinical trials evaluating treatments have begun. This Viewpoint updates previous guidance for clinicians2 and summarizes what is known, what is unknown, and what are the next steps based on available evidence to address and halt the outbreak.
Author：Carlos del Rio, Preeti N. Malani