Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Download SARS-CoV2 PDF



SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is a β Coronavirus of the group 2B with at least 70% similarity in genetic sequence to SARS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 is a new Coronavirus responsible for causing the outbreak of Coronavirus disease first detected in December 2019 (COVID-19).

Growth Conditions

Serial passage in 5-6 week old mice. In vitro propagation in Vero cells.


BEI resources

Health Hazards

Host Range

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats. Analysis of the genetic tree of the SARS-CoV-2 indicated it originated in bats, but whether the virus jumped directly from bats or whether there was an intermediary animal host is not, yet, known.

Modes of Transmission

Inhalation and contact with contaminated surfaces. Person-to-person happens among close contacts (about 6 feet), spread is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Signs and Symptoms

Illnesses have ranged from people with mild symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. Symptoms can include: Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath.

Infectious Dose

The human infectious dose of SARS-CoV-2 is unknown. Based on non-human primate research, the best estimate of the human infectious dose via the inhalation route is 36-179 viral particles.

Incubation Period

2-14 days.

Medical Precautions/Treatment


Consisting of a monoclonal antibody cocktail specific for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein has been authorized in some jurisdictions for moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals who may not respond adequately to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and for individuals for whom such vaccines are contraindicated.


Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Gamaleya Research Institute, Janssen Vaccines, Sinopharm, Novavax, and Valneva, as well as vaccine candidates from Sanofi/GSK and Bavarian Nordic. 


Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR for use with upper and lower respiratory specimens.


This may include the antiviral remdesivir, oxygen therapy, airway management, steroids, and the management of septic shock, depending on disease severity, in addition to the management of co-infection.


COVID-19 is a reportable disease in the USA.

Emory Requirements

Report all exposures. Complete the health questionnaire and follow occupational health requirements if exposure were to occur.

Laboratory Hazards

Laboratory Acquired Infections (LAIs)

No LAIs have been reported for SARS-CoV-2. However, four LAIs have been reported for SARS-CoV.


SARS-CoV-2 RNA has been detected in upper and lower respiratory tract specimens, blood, stool.



COVID-19 Information


Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic


The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health — The latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China(PDF)

Canadian Pathogen Form

Pathogen Safety Data Sheets

Biological Containment


Processing of human samples potentially infected with SARS-CoV-2; BSL2+ means BSL2 containment with BSL3 practices and PPE. Lab specific procedures (SOPs) will outline specific containment, practices and PPE. Surgical mask is required.


Isolation, initial characterization, and propagation of SARS-CoV-2; N95 respirator or CAPR/PAPR is required.


Animal work is conducted in an ABSL3 facility. Use a filter top cage on either a ventilated or non-ventilated cage rack for work with rodents.

Spill Procedures


Notify others working in the lab. Allow aerosols to settle. Don appropriate PPE. Cover area of the spill with paper towels and apply an EPA approved disinfectant, working from the perimeter towards the center. Allow 30 minutes of contact time before disposal and cleanup of spill materials. Report spill in the H.O.M.E system.


Contact Emory's Biosafety Officer (404-727-8863),
the EHSO Office (404-727-5922), or
The Spill Response Team (404-727-2888).

Exposure Procedures

Mucous membrane

Flush eyes, mouth or nose for 15 minutes at eyewash station.

Other Exposures

Wash area with soap and water for 15 minutes.


Immediately report incident to supervisor. Exposures are reported in H.O.M.E. via PeopleSoft. Emory HR website > Self-Service > Workplace Health> Report

Medical Follow-up 

7:30am-4pm (OHS):


After Hours:

OHS NP On Call

404-686-5500 PIC# 50464


EUH (404-686-8587)

EUHM (404-686-2352)

ENPRC: Maureen Thompson

Office (404-727-8012)

Cell (404-275-0963)



Routine cleaning and disinfection procedures using EPA-registered disinfectants is appropriate, including 10% bleach. Follow manufacturer's recommendations for use – dilution (i.e., concentration), contact time, and care in handling.


Suspected to be inactivated by heat (60°C for 30 minutes) and UV radiation (60 minutes).

Survival Outside Host

It is not known how long the SARS-CoV-2 survives on surfaces, preliminary information suggests the virus may survive a few hours or more on dry inanimate surfaces.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Minimum Laboratory PPE Requirements

Personnel are required to don double nitrile gloves, closed toed shoes, solid front gown, eye protection with side shield, surgical mask. N95 respirator may be required based on risk assessment [Annual fit testing is required per Emory's Respiratory Program].

Additional Practices

All procedures involving live virus or samples potentially infected should be conducted in a biological safety cabinet (BSC). Hand hygiene should be performed as the last step in doffing PPE and before exiting the facility. The use of needles, syringes, and other sharp objects must be approved by the Biosafety office. Waste must be autoclaved before disposal through Emory's approved vendor.