SARS-CoV-2, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes the disease known as COVID-19 in humans. Disease symptoms and modes of transmission are tightly linked to respiration processes. The virus is primarily spread via small, virus-laced particles called respiratory droplets that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or exhales. Disease severity ranges from mild-to-severe, and common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, sore throat, runny nose and body aches. Loss of taste or smell may also accompany infection.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In the 2 years since then, millions of lives have been lost or forever changed.

COVID-19 by the numbers.
COVID-19 by the numbers.
Source: American Society for Microbiology
COVID-19 By the numbers.
COVID-19 By the numbers.
Source: American Society for Microbiology


Downloadable Resources

COVID-19 Fact Sheets

Looking for simple, accurate information you can use to talk about COVID-19 and answer questions from your friends and family? Check out these fact sheets from ASM, which are freely available for you to download. We'll be releasing a new set each week throughout February 2022. Be sure to share on social media!

Note that ASM retains copyright for these infographics. They may be used for personal or non-commercial, educational purposes only with the following citation: "American Society for Microbiology, 2022." Please contact for other uses.


Click on the image below to learn about the different types of COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

Get tested!


Learn about how different kinds of masks work to prevent infection by clicking the image below.

Get Masked!


Looking for information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they work? Click below for more information!

Get Vaccinated!


What options are currently available? Who are they approved for? Click below to find out!

Get Treated!


COVID-19 Toolkit

Need to explain COVID-19 to your friends, family members or local community? Download our resource collection that includes information about how COVID-19 is spread, key facts about the current crop of vaccines and suggestions for how people can protect themselves. Includes resources in English, Spanish and Nepalese!


COVID-19 Infographics

Comparison of COVID-19 Molecular and Antibody Tests

Comparison of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 molecular and antibody tests.
Comparison of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 test types and techniques.
Source: American Society for Microbiology

How COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Work

Depiction of mRNA vaccine-induced antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins.
Depiction of mRNA vaccine-induced antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins.
Source: American Society for Microbiology

Spike (S) Protein Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern

Amino acid changes to the spike (S) protein in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). (Click to expand image.)
Amino acid changes to the spike (S) protein in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). (Click to expand image.)
Source: American Society for Microbiology

Hear From Experts

Progress on Omicron-Specific Vaccines

Updated February 11, 2022

ASM President-Elect Colleen Kraft, M.D., the Associate Chief Medical Officer at Emory University Hospital and associate professor in the Department of Medicine, discusses the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in a CNN interview aired January 2022.

View COVID-19 Registry Virtual Journal Clubs

Watch past COVID-19 Research Registry virtual journal club recordings where SARS-CoV-2 research is presented and discussed in depth by a panel of experts. Topics include long COVID, emerging variants, vaccines and therapeutics. 
Watch Past Registry Virtual Journal Club Sessions


A study in which 36 volunteers were infected with SARS-CoV-2, and what was learned about the kinetics of virus reproduction in the nose and throat, development of symptoms, and reliability of lateral flow antigen assays.

Determining the number of neutralizing epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 spike that are recognized by antibodies.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccination of both uninfected and previously infected persons elicits cross-variant neutralizing antibodies, and directed evolution of a bacterial protein to form a virus-like capsid that specifically packages its encoding mRNA.

Other COVID-19 Resources

Most Recent ASM Content