Coronavirus (COVID-19) Collection
- On 31 December 2020, China first reported a group of cases with atypical pneumonia caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (Lu et al., 2020). As of 8 December 2020, more than 68.5 million people were infected with the virus, and >1.5 million have died as a result of it (World Health Organization, 2020). In Spain, to date, >1.5 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 infection, and 47 624 people have died from the disease (Spanish Government, 2020). To reduce the risk of transmission, governments have launched urgent measures that include widespread use of facemasks, closure of public spaces and personal mobility restrictions.
- SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has infected more than 92 million people and lead to the death of more than 1.9 million people worldwide since its outbreak in December 2019 (WHO, 2020). The disease has a wide range of presentations, from asymptomatic infection to fever, cough, shortness of breath and the loss of taste and smell. Symptoms normally appear 2–14 days following exposure to the virus and may develop into mild upper respiratory tract infections or progress to severe pneumonia, which can progress to acute respiratory distress, shock, multiorgan failure and death (Huang et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2020).
- The outbreak of novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2)-induced disease, COVID-19, spread rapidly from Wuhan, China, in December 2019. This led to China experiencing a major public health emergency with over 83,000 confirmed cases and 4634 deaths as of June 2020 (Rai et al., 2020). Although there are a few newly developed vaccines and treatments, it is conceivable that without some impact on transmission, the virus will continue to circulate, infect, and cause serious disease, in certain segments of the unvaccinated population.
- The first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was confirmed in Malaysia on January 25, 2020, marking the first wave of infection in the country that lasted for about 3 weeks (Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH), 2020). The total number of cases was low, with 22 confirmed infections, 20 of which were imported, and no fatality.
- A curious imbalance exists between the research and development (R&D) efforts dedicated to pharmaceutical versus non-pharmaceutical interventions in outbreak control. The scientific output as well as the associated R&D investments for pharmaceutical interventions are often a factor higher than those for non-pharmaceutical interventions, even though the latter commonly represent a cornerstone of outbreak control. This seems no different in the case of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: at the time of writing, a PubMed search indicated that the number of published peer-reviewed articles on COVID-19 and treatment/vaccination was approximately double that of COVID-19 and containment/prevention.
- A combination of physical distancing measures, if implemented early, can be effective in containing COVID-19—tight border controls to limit importation of cases, encouraging physical distancing, moderately stringent measures such as working from home, and a full lockdown in the case of a probable uncontrolled outbreak.
- The patterns of propagation of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003 were not explained by conventional epidemic models that assumed homogeneity of infectiousness. Instead, the existing datasets were best matched by models that used negative binomial distributions, in which a small proportion of cases were highly infectious (Lloyd-Smith et al., 2005; McDonald et al., 2004; Shen et al., 2004). Data and modelling supported the existence of superspreaders, which played a crucial role in propagating the disease by being very efficient at transmitting SARS-CoV-1, such that in the absence of superspreading events most cases infected few, if any, secondary contacts (Stein, 2011).