At the stroke of the New Year 2020, COVID-19, a zoonotic disease that would turn into a global pandemic, was identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Although unique in its transmission and virulence, COVID-19 is similar to zoonotic diseases, including other SARS variants (e.g., SARS-CoV) and MERS, in exhibiting severe flu-like symptoms and acute respiratory distress. Even at the molecular level, many parallels have been identified between SARS and COVID-19 so much so that the COVID-19 virus has been named SARS-CoV-2. These similarities have provided several opportunities to treat COVID-19 patients using clinical approaches that were proven to be effective against SARS. Importantly, the identification of similarities in how SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 access the host, replicate, and trigger life-threatening pathological conditions have revealed opportunities to repurpose drugs that were proven to be effective against SARS. In this article, we first provided an overview of COVID-19 etiology vis-à-vis other zoonotic diseases, particularly SARS and MERS. Then, we summarized the characteristics of droplets/aerosols emitted by COVID-19 patients and how they aid in the transmission of the virus among people. Moreover, we discussed the molecular mechanisms that enable SARS-CoV-2 to access the host and become more contagious than other betacoronaviruses such as SARS-CoV. Further, we outlined various approaches that are currently being employed to diagnose and symptomatically treat COVID-19 in the clinic. Finally, we reviewed various approaches and technologies employed to develop vaccines against COVID-19 and summarized the attempts to repurpose various classes of drugs and novel therapeutic approaches.
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- therapeutic strategies