With over 89 million cases and greater than one million deaths worldwide (as of 10 Jan 2021 per the World Health Organization), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the causative virus of coronavirus disease 2019, has had impacts far and wide. A betacoronavirus in the same family as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, the relative ease of transmission of this respiratory pathogen combined with limited treatment and initial absence of vaccine have led to much interest and study since initial discovery in late 2019. One of the troubling observations is that people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 can transmit the virus to others before they have symptoms or without ever having symptoms of disease. Its emergence and rapid spread poses a significant danger to Service Members and civilians alike around the world.
Despite the limited numbers, AFRIMS has worked closely with Thai partners in the Royal Thai Army to support the government of Thailand's robust response to the pandemic, supporting diagnostic efforts, seroprevalence studies and animal models for SARS-CoV-2 challenge studies and vaccine development efforts. In the Philippines, existing infrastructure to surveil respiratory disease has been expanded to incorporate testing for SARS-CoV-2 in support of local governments.
The primary departments at AFRIMS involved with this research are Retrovirology
, Veterinary Medicine
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