SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, what's that? Some figures
Text updated on 2020-04-21
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The first cases were reported in November 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Central China. After that initial report, the virus spread around the world.
Virus diameter: 1E-7 meters, 10,000 times smaller than a mustard seed.
Volume: 1E-18 liters, 50,000 billion times smaller than a drop of water
Mass: 1E-15 grams, 350 million times lighter than a very fine grain of sand
Time: Ten minutes to enter a cell and 10 hours to release small virions, 1,000 virions per cell.
Maximum quantity of virus measured by RNA tests on samples :
Nasopharyngeal: 1 billion per milliliter (high), throat: 10,000 per milliliter, stool: 100 million per gram of stool, sputum: 100 billion per milliliter.
SourcesBar-On, Y. M., Flamholz, A., Phillips, R., & Milo, R. (2020). SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) by the numbers. Elife, 9, e57309.
Tests based on the amount of virus present in saliva.Azzi, L., Carcano, G., Gianfagna, F., Grossi, P., Dalla Gasperina, D., Genoni, A., ... & Maurino, V. (2020). Saliva is a reliable tool to detect SARS-CoV-2. Journal of Infection.