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COVID-19: breaking down a global health crisis

  • Mallah, Saad I.1, 2
  • Ghorab, Omar K.1
  • Al-Salmi, Sabrina1
  • Abdellatif, Omar S.3, 3
  • Tharmaratnam, Tharmegan1, 4
  • Iskandar, Mina Amin1
  • Sefen, Jessica Atef Nassef1
  • Sidhu, Pardeep1
  • Atallah, Bassam5, 6
  • El-Lababidi, Rania5
  • Al-Qahtani, Manaf2, 1, 7
  • 1 Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain , Bahrain (Bahrain)
  • 2 The National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain , Bahrain (Bahrain)
  • 3 University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada , Toronto (Canada)
  • 4 RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dublin, Ireland , Dublin (Ireland)
  • 5 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates , Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
  • 6 Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA , Cleveland (United States)
  • 7 Royal Medical Services, Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, Riffa, Kingdom of Bahrain , Riffa (Bahrain)
Published Article
Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
May 18, 2021
DOI: 10.1186/s12941-021-00438-7
Springer Nature


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the second pandemic of the twenty-first century, with over one-hundred million infections and over two million deaths to date. It is a novel strain from the Coronaviridae family, named Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2); the 7th known member of the coronavirus family to cause disease in humans, notably following the Middle East Respiratory syndrome (MERS), and Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (SARS). The most characteristic feature of this single-stranded RNA molecule includes the spike glycoprotein on its surface. Most patients with COVID-19, of which the elderly and immunocompromised are most at risk, complain of flu-like symptoms, including dry cough and headache. The most common complications include pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock, and cardiovascular manifestations. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is mainly via respiratory droplets, either directly from the air when an infected patient coughs or sneezes, or in the form of fomites on surfaces. Maintaining hand-hygiene, social distancing, and personal protective equipment (i.e., masks) remain the most effective precautions. Patient management includes supportive care and anticoagulative measures, with a focus on maintaining respiratory function. Therapy with dexamethasone, remdesivir, and tocilizumab appear to be most promising to date, with hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, ritonavir, and interferons falling out of favour. Additionally, accelerated vaccination efforts have taken place internationally, with several promising vaccinations being mass deployed. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries and stakeholders have taken varying precautions to combat and contain the spread of the virus and dampen its collateral economic damage. This review paper aims to synthesize the impact of the virus on a global, micro to macro scale.

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