COVID-19 is a new global threat to humanity


Pshenichnaya N.Yu., Veselova E.I., Semenova D.A., Ivanova S.S., Zhuravlev A.S.

1) National Medical Research Center of Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia; 2) Rostov State Medical University, Ministry of Health of Russia, Rostov-on-Don, Russia; 3) I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia
Objective. To provide the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 and to identify possible options for the development of the epidemic process.
Materials and methods. The paper is based on an analysis of 40 foreign publications in peer-reviewed journals and on the data available in official sources from China’s health authorities and the WHO on COVID-19 in January-February 2020.
Results. A new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detected in China in December 2019 can cause damage to the upper respiratory tract and lead to viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Originating in the Chinese province of Hubei, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 has spread to almost all of China’s provinces and penetrated into many countries of the world. The WHO has declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern. This article provides an overview of currently available information on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and treatment of COVID-19. It describes the main problems associated with the emergence of family and hospital clusters of the disease. The epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 is compared with other respiratory viruses that have caused pandemics. Main risk groups are considered. The issues of laboratory diagnosis and treatment are discussed. The circle of problems that all countries of the world may face in the near future is outlined.
Conclusion. Despite the stringent restrictive measures taken by countries, there is global distribution of COVID-19. Currently, the virus reproduction index and its virulence are declining, and mortality in China outside the Hubei province is 0.6–0.7%. The risk group for the severe course of the disease includes individuals with chronic somatic diseases and those with various types of immunosuppression. Children and pregnant women more easily experience the disease, unlike influenza. There is a need to adhere to strict infection control measures in healthcare facilities and to use individual protective means in public places to prevent the spread of infection. The asymptomatic course of the disease can contribute to the maintenance of the epidemic process.


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About the Autors

Prof. Natalia Yu. Pshenichnaya, MD; Head, International Department for Organization of Medical Care, National Research Medical Center of Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow; Leading Researcher, Central Research Laboratoty, Rostov State Medical University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia; e-mail:; ORCID:
Elena I. Veselova, Researcher, National Research Medical Center of Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia; e-mail:; ORCID: 0000-0003-4339-126X.
Diana A. Semenova, Epidemiologist, National Research Medical Center of Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia; e-mail:
Snezhana S. Ivanova, Еpidemiologist, National Research Medical Center of Phthisiopulmonology and Infectious Diseases, Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia; e-mail:
Andrey S. Zhuravlev, Student, «Medicine of the Future» Center for Innovative Educational Programs (CIEP), I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (Sechenov University), Ministry of Health of Russia, Moscow, Russia; e-mail:; ORCID:

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