The world is facing a serious pandemic. The disease called COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which started to spread in China in December 2019. COVID-19 is a condition that may be particularly serious and even fatal in elderly people, as well as in patients with comorbidities such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cancer. The clinical presentation is mild in approximately 80% of cases, moderate to severe in 15% of cases, and critical in 5% of cases. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, fatigue, muscle aches, and dry cough. Some patients may exhibit nasal congestion, chills, sore throat, or diarrhea. Severely ill patients can develop an acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), shock, thrombosis, and multiple organ failure, and they are at risk of death. COVID-19 patients with ARDS have a poor prognosis, with an estimated mortality rate of more than 10%. SARS-CoV-2 is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets. Airway and hand hygiene is therefore essential. The diagnosis is made by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction on a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab and, in suggestive cases, by chest computed tomography, which has a high sensitivity. There is currently no effective specific treatment for COVID-19. Many molecules have been tried or are under investigation. The treatment currently remains supportive.
What is already known about the topic?
The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for the current COVID-19 pandemic. The clinical presentation is mild in approximately 80% of cases, moderate to severe in 15% of cases, and critical in 5% of cases. The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets. The diagnosis is made by RT-PCR and, in case of suggestive symptoms, by computed tomography. There is no effective treatment to date, but many molecules are being evaluated. The treatment remains supportive.
What does this article bring up for us?
This article summarizes current knowledge on COVID-19. The pathophysiology and diagnosis of the disease are discussed. Therapeutic aspects are also widely discussed, with an emphasis on the strategy at the Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc.