Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the coronavirus
disease- 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which was first reported from Wuhan, China, in late 2019. This infection
spread to thousands of people globally within a short span of time with a progressive trend to mortality of citizens.
Posing a potential public health threat, SARS-CoV-2 progressed from animal-to-human to human-tohuman
transmission with symptoms ranging from little or no illness to persons being severely ill and many
deaths, confirming two criteria for declaring COVID-19 a pandemic. The disease shows a progressive trend in
symptomology, ranging from mild to severe pneumoniae to respiratory and multi-visceral failure that often
leads to the death of patients with comorbidity within a short span of time. Intensive research efforts on different
aspects of this human pathogen are underway across the globe for elucidating viral transmission routes and
the mechanisms employed to overcome host defense responses. Due to the massive infective potential, studies
are being carried out to develop effective diagnostics and therapeutic interventions, including re-purposing antivirals
and other potential inhibitors. Herein, we describe the taxonomic classification of 'SARS-CoV-2', the
structural organization of its genome, its infectivity, transmission, and receptor interaction; and we summarize
risk assessment and approaches used for prevention of the infection. Finally, we discuss important aspects of
the development of diagnostic tools and therapeutic countermeasures that have the potential to help in controlling
the COVID-19 pandemic.