Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): a Systemic Infection.

Clinical Microbiology Reviews
Aleksandra SynowiecKrzysztof Pyrc

Abstract

To date, seven identified coronaviruses (CoVs) have been found to infect humans; of these, three highly pathogenic variants have emerged in the 21st century. The newest member of this group, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was first detected at the end of 2019 in Hubei province, China. Since then, this novel coronavirus has spread worldwide, causing a pandemic; the respiratory disease caused by the virus is called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The clinical presentation ranges from asymptomatic to mild respiratory tract infections and influenza-like illness to severe disease with accompanying lung injury, multiorgan failure, and death. Although the lungs are believed to be the site at which SARS-CoV-2 replicates, infected patients often report other symptoms, suggesting the involvement of the gastrointestinal tract, heart, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and other organs; therefore, the following question arises: is COVID-19 a respiratory or systemic disease? This review aims to summarize existing data on the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in different tissues in both patients and ex vivo models.

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