What is the cause of the COVID-19 virus?
Coronaviruses (CoV) belong to a family of RNA (ribonucleic acid) viruses. Their name originates from the presence of a characteristic crown of protein spicules around the lipid envelope of the viral particle. Coronavirus infections are common in animals and humans. Some strains of the virus are zoonotic, that is, they are transmissible between animals and humans, but many strains are not zoonotic.
In humans, CoV can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (caused by MERS-CoV) or severe acute respiratory syndrome (caused by SARS-CoV ). Extensive investigations have shown that the SARS coronavirus has been transmitted from civet to humans, and MERS-CoV from dromedaries to humans.
In December 2019, human cases of pneumonia of unknown origin were reported in the city of Wuhan (Hubei Province, People's Republic of China). A new CoV has been identified as the causative agent by the Chinese authorities. Since then, human cases have been reported from almost all countries and COVID-19 has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). For updated information, please visit the WHO website.
The CoV behind COVID-19 has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV): it is its scientific name. The virus can also be called "COVID-19 virus" or "virus responsible for COVID-19". COVID-19 refers to the disease caused by the virus.
Source of information: https://www.oie.int/.