COVID-19: pathogenesis, advances in treatment and vaccine development and environmental impact—an updated review

Youssef A. Attia, Mohamed T. El-Saadony, Ayman A. Swelum, Shaza Y.A. Qattan, Adel D. Al-qurashi, Khalid A. Asiry, Manal E. Shafi, Ahmed R. Elbestawy, Ahmed R. Gado, Asmaa F. Khafaga, Elsayed O.S. Hussein, Hani Ba-Awadh, Ruchi Tiwari, Kuldeep Dhama, Bakr Alhussaini, Salem R. Alyileili, Khaled A. El-Tarabily, Mohamed E. Abd El-Hack

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Diseases negatively impact the environment, causing many health risks and the spread of pollution and hazards. A novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to a recent respiratory syndrome epidemic in humans. In December 2019, the sudden emergence of this new coronavirus and the subsequent severe disease it causes created a serious global health threat and hazards. This is in contrast to the two aforementioned coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 (in 2002) and middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus MERS-CoV (in 2012), which were much more easily contained. The World Health Organization (WHO) dubbed this contagious respiratory disease an “epidemic outbreak” in March 2020. More than 80 companies and research institutions worldwide are working together, in cooperation with many governmental agencies, to develop an effective vaccine. To date, six authorized vaccines have been registered. Up till now, no approved drugs and drug scientists are racing from development to clinical trials to find new drugs for COVID-19. Wild animals, such as snakes, bats, and pangolins are the main sources of coronaviruses, as determined by the sequence homology between MERS-CoV and viruses in these animals. Human infection is caused by inhalation of respiratory droplets. To date, the only available treatment protocol for COVID-19 is based on the prevalent clinical signs. This review aims to summarize the current information regarding the origin, evolution, genomic organization, epidemiology, and molecular and cellular characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 as well as the diagnostic and treatment approaches for COVID-19 and its impact on global health, environment, and economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22241-22264
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Antiviral drugs
  • Disease prevention
  • Pathology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Therapies
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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