SARS‐CoV‐2, the Virus that Causes COVID‐19: Cytometry and the New Challenge for Global Health

ISAC President Andrea Cossarizza and his team in Modena, Italy published yesterday an article in Cytometry Part A detailing their findings of the first flow cytometry analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  They have been working tirelessly for the past several weeks to combat the pandemic, which has now claimed nearly 3,000 lives in their home country alone.  Get free access to the article by clicking here.

Introduction: The Covid‐19 Epidemic

In December 2019, patients affected by severe illness and a pneumonia of unknown origin were described in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China. One month later, different laboratories, first in China and then in different countries, were able to demonstrate that a novel coronavirus, genetically very close to that of a bat, first named “2019 novel coronavirus” (2019‐nCoV), and then defined as “SARS‐CoV‐2” (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus‐2), was the cause of the disease, defined as Covid‐19. The most common symptoms of this novel pathology are fever; fatigue; respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath; and rare intestinal symptoms such as diarrhea.

The virus is transmitted from human to human, and according to the most recent data, most infected persons (up to 80%) present very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Unfortunately, the virus has some peculiarities, among which: (1) it is very contagious; (2) it can be transmitted (at very low rate) even by asymptomatic individuals; (3) in the relevant percentage of people, the infection can be extremely severe, forcing patients to be hospitalized (typically in infectious disease clinics or, in the most serious case, in intensive care units) and that the rate of mortality is far from being negligible.

In a relatively short time, Covid‐19 epidemics have...

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