What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered strain of coronavirus.

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Cough

Certain subgroups of the population are at higher risk of contracting the virus and developing serious symptoms, including:

  • Older people
  • People with cardiovascular disease
  • People with Diabetes
  • People with chronic respiratory disease
  • People with Cancer

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.

QMENTA is participating and leading the below COVID-19 related initiatives:

MS Global Initiative

Collaborating to investigate the effects of COVID-19 on people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)


Providing a central repository for medical imaging data collection and analysis of COVID-19 infections

COVID-19: A Timeline

December 2019

The Chinese city of Wuhan became the center of a pneumonia outbreak with an unknown cause and global implications. In early 2020, Chinese scientists isolated a novel coronavirus (CoV), named Covid-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Patients infected with this strain present a wide range of symptoms, however about 20% appear to progress to severe disease, including pneumonia, respiratory failure and in around 2% of cases, death [report]

Since then, the disease has been spreading exponentially around the world.

On January 30th, WHO declared a global public-health emergency.

The graph below shows the number of confirmed deaths as a result of COVID-19 around the world.

11 March 2020

 The WHO declared the virus outbreak a pandemic, and many countries, including the USA and Spain, also declared a state of emergency. The strategy of most of the affected countries is to “flatten the curve” by recommending or forcing isolation and social distancing.

The aim is to slow down the rate of new infections to help reduce the burden on the world’s healthcare systems.

The interactive graph below shows how fast the disease spread to other countries after the first 100 confirmed cases.

31 March 2020

There remains no standard procedure of testing for the virus or reporting deaths.

However, it is clear that by the end of March 2020, over half a million people had been infected with the virus and of those, over 25,000 people, the infection proved fatal.  Currently, over 100,000 people have recovered from the virus infection, but research is needed to study immunity, and the long-term effects of having been infected.

We cannot predict in which stage of the pandemic we are currently in, or how long it will last. Some of the countries where the infections occurred first have been able slow down the spreading of the virus, and the number of new cases per day in those countries have gone down substantially.

Other countries are still in an earlier stage of the spread, and it is unknown when the spread of the virus will be controlled.

The map below shows the current number of reported cases in different countries.