On Dec. 31 of last year, Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization to a mysterious virus causing pneumonia-like illness in a small cluster of patients in the city of Wuhan. Shortly after, the novel virus was identified as SARS-CoV-2. It has since escalated into a global pandemic with outbreaks on six continents, causing disruption to our lives at a scale never seen in this lifetime.
Just a few months ago, the scientific community didn’t know this virus existed. And now, understanding SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes — COVID-19 — will be critical to developing treatments and helping to stop it from spreading further.