• The COVID-19 Menace

      Walczak, Piotr; Janowski, Miroslaw (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021-05-07)
      Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which binds to ectoenzyme angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. It is very contagious and is spreading rapidly around the world. Until now, coronaviruses have mainly been associated with the aerodigestive tract due to the presence of a monobasic cleavage site for the resident transmembrane serine protease 2. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 is equipped with a second, polybasic cleavage site for the ubiquitous furin protease, which may determine the widespread tissue tropism. Furthermore, the terminal sequence of the furin-cleaved spike protein also binds to neuropilin receptors. Clinically, there is enormous variability in the severity of the disease. Severe consequences are seen in a relatively small number of patients, most show moderate symptoms, but asymptomatic cases, especially among young people, drive disease spread. Unfortunately, the number of local infections can quickly build up, causing disease outbreaks suddenly exhausting health services' capacity. Therefore, COVID-19 is dangerous and unpredictable and has become the most serious threat for generations. Here, the latest research on COVID-19 is summarized, including its spread, testing methods, organ-specific complications, the role of comorbidities, long-term consequences, mortality, as well as a new hope for immunity, drugs, and vaccines.