COVID-19 presents benign forms in young patients who frequently present with anosmia. Infants are rarely infected, while severe forms occur in patients over 65 years of age with comorbidities, including hypertension and diabetes. Lymphopenia, eosinopenia, thrombopenia, increased lactate dehydrogenase, troponin, C-reactive protein, D-dimers, and low zinc levels are associated with severity.
The authors review the literature and provide an overview of the current state of knowledge regarding the natural history of and therapeutic options for COVID-19.
Diagnosis should rely on PCR and not on clinical presumption. Because of discrepancies between clinical symptoms, oxygen saturation or radiological signs on CT scans, pulse oximetry and radiological investigation should be systematic. The disease evolves in successive phases: an acute virological phase, and, in some patients, a cytokine storm phase; an uncontrolled coagulopathy; and an acute respiratory distress syndrome. Therapeutic oxygen therapy, options include antivirals, immunomodulators, anticoagulants and prolonged mechanical treatment. Early diagnosis, care, and implementation of an antiviral treatment; the use of immunomodulators at a later stage; and the quality of intensive care are critical regarding mortality rates. The higher mortality observed in Western countries remains unexplained. Pulmonary fibrosis may occur in some patients. Its future is unpredictable.