Coronavirus (COVID-19) Collection
- Nearly two years since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, which has caused over 5 million deaths, the world continues to be on high COVID-19 alert. The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with national authorities, public health institutions and scientists have been closely monitoring and assessing the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 since January 2020 (WHO 2021a; WHO 2021b). The emergence of specific SARS-CoV-2 variants were characterised as Variant of Interest (VOI) and Variant of Concern (VOC), to prioritise global monitoring and research, and to inform the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO and its international sequencing networks continuously monitor SARS-CoV-2 mutations and inform countries about any changes that may be needed to respond to the variant, and prevent its spread where feasible.
- The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread worldwide (WHO 2020). Understanding severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) shedding, transmission dynamics, and re-infection with different SARS-CoV-2 clades in immunocompromised persons is an important clinical and public health challenge (Choi et al., 2020).
- The abrupt appearance of SARS-CoV-2 as a novel lethal zoonotic pathogen causing COVID-19 disease in humans in late December 2019 (WHO, 2020), and its explosive global spread (Hui et al., 2020) caught health authorities worldwide by surprise and exposed the ill-preparedness of global public health systems to deal with the appearance of a new pathogen. Apart from generic prevention and control issues of public health and lockdown measures to limit epidemic spread, specific issues of Mass Gathering sporting and religious events came under specific spotlight (Alzahrani et al., 2020; Memish et al., 2020; Baloch et al., 2020; McCloskey et al., 2020; Petersen et al., 2020b).
- Genetic factors such as the HLA type of patients may play a role in regard to disease severity and clinical outcome of patients with COVID-19. Taking the data deposited in the GISAID database, we made predictions using the IEDB analysis resource (TepiTool) to gauge how variants in the SARS-CoV-2 genome may change peptide binding to the most frequent MHC-class I and -II alleles in Africa, Asia and Europe. We caracterized how a single mutation in the wildtype sequence of of SARS-CoV-2 could influence the peptide binding of SARS-CoV-2 variants to MHC class II, but not to MHC class I alleles.
- As of May 17th 2020, the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused 307,395 deaths worldwide, out of 3,917,366 cases reported to the World Health Organization. No specific treatments for reducing mortality or morbidity are yet available. Deaths from COVID-19 will continue to rise globally until effective and appropriate treatments and/or vaccines are found. In search of effective treatments, the global medical, scientific, pharma and funding communities have rapidly initiated over 500 COVID-19 clinical trials on a range of antiviral drug regimens and repurposed drugs in various combinations.
- The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has made national governments worldwide to mandate several generic infection control measures such as physical distancing, self-isolation, and closure of non-essential shops, restaurants schools, among others. Some models suggest physical distancing would have to persist for 3 months to mitigate the peak effects on health systems and could be required on an intermittent basis for 12 to 18 months (Flaxman et al., 2020).