The ongoing episode of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) has imposed a serious threat to global health and the world economy. The disease has rapidly acquired a pandemic status affecting almost all populated areas of the planet. The causative agent of COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2. The virus has an approximate 30 kb single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome, which is 74.5% to 99% identical to that of SARS-CoV, CoV-pangolin, and the coronavirus the from horseshoe bat. According to available information, SARS-CoV-2 is inferred to be a recombinant virus that originated from bats and was transmitted to humans, possibly using the pangolin as the intermediate host. The interaction of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with the human ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptor, and its subsequent cleavage by serine protease and fusion, are the main events in the pathophysiology. The serine protease inhibitors, spike protein-based vaccines, or ACE2 blockers may have therapeutic potential in the near future. At present, no vaccine is available against COVID-19. The disease is being treated with antiviral, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, herbal medicines, and active plasma antibodies. In this context, the present review article provides a cumulative account of the recent information regarding the viral characteristics, potential therapeutic targets, treatment options, and prospective research questions.
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