Lecture 3.6 Study Guide and Competencies

SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19


Prevalence (of a disease)
Case fatality rate
Exponential (growth)
Zoonotic disease
Spike (S) proteins
Envelope (of a virus)
Open reading frame
Replicase/transcriptase complex


  1. Explain the difference between the designations SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.
  2. Explain what SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 stand for.
  3. Explain why prevalence is a more useful measure of risk for getting a disease than is the total number of cases.
  4. Explain what is technically means to say that something is “exponential,” and explain how to determine mathematically if something is actually exponential.
  5. Explain how to determine if the epidemic is dying out, staying constant, or increasing.
  6. Calculate prevalence and use it to compare disease risk in different regions.
  7. Interpret epidemic data, including cumulative cases, prevalence, and cases in a 5-day moving average.
  8. Describe how many coronaviruses infect humans, and indicate the severity of the diseases they cause.
  9. Explain why coronaviruses that infect humans are considered zoonotic.
  10. Outline the evidence suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 came to the human population through pangolins.
  11. Describe the basic anatomy of coronaviruses, including N, E and S proteins.
  12. Outline how the genes of coronaviruses are arranged on the viral ssRNA (single-stranded RNA).
  13. Compare genome organization of SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV.
  14. Describe the general life cycle of coronaviruses from infection to shedding.
  15. Compare and contrast the life cycles of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.
  16. Explain the evidence suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 uses ACE2 to enter human cells.
  17. Explain the evidence suggesting the role TMPRSS2 plays in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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