Coronavirus Glossary of Terms

Last updated: May 11, 2021

Below are definitions, abbreviations, acryonyms, meanings, full forms and medical terms related to Coronavirus COVID-19, provided by Unbound Medicine.

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Initial name of the novel coronavirus discovered in late 2019 in Wuhan, China; later renamed SARS-CoV-2. See Coronavirus COVID-19 Overview.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

Syndrome associated with severe Coronavirus Disease. See Coronavirus Clinical Syndromes.

Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI)

Any of a number of infectious diseases involving the respiratory tract. Often classified as either upper respiratory tract infections (URIs) or lower respiratory tract infections (LRIs). See Coronavirus Clinical Syndromes.

Asymptomatic

Showing no symptoms of disease. A person infected with the virus can be asymptomatic because they are in an early stage of infection and symptoms have not yet developed (“pre-symptomatic”), or they may not develop any symptoms at all during their infection.

Case Definition

Criteria used to determine whether an individual has a disease or health event of interest. See Coronavirus Case Definitions.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The leading national public health institute of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. See CDC Coronavirus website.

Chloroquine phosphate (CQ)

An antimalarial drug studied early in the pandemic that is now not recommended for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. See Coronavirus Disease Treatment or Search PubMed for Chloroquine treatment of COVID-19. See also Hydroxychloroquine.

Confirmed Case

Someone tested and confirmed to have COVID-19.

Congregate Settings

Public places that can get crowded and where contact with infected people can happen. This includes places like malls, theaters, and grocery stores.

Convalescent plasma

Blood plasma donated by persons recovered from COVID-19 (containing natural antibodies); being studied as a treatment for severely ill COVID-19 patients. See COVID-19 Treatment.

COVID-19 (Coronavrus Disease 2019)

Official name for the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV) coronavirus. Informal name: Corona. See Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) for details.

Dexamethasone

A well known and powerful steroid medication that has been shown to reduce death rates and time to recovery for patients with severe COVID-19. See COVID-19 Drug Treatment for details.

Favipiravir (Avigan; T-705)

Antiviral drug developed by Toyama Chemical (Fujifilm group) of Japan with activity against many RNA viruses. Being studied in China for experimental treatment of Coronavirus Disease. See COVID-19 Treatment.

Flattening the Curve

Slowing the spread of an infectious agent to reduce the peak number of cases and related demands on hospitals and infrastructure. See Epidemic (Epi) Curves for Coronavirus COVID-19 for details.

Epidemic (Epi) Curve

A statistical chart used to visualize the onset and progression of a disease outbreak. See Epidemic (Epi) Curves for Coronavirus COVID-19 for details.

Fomite

Any inanimate object that when contaminated with or exposed to infectious agents can transfer disease to a new host. See COVID-2019 Infection Control.

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

An antimalarial drug studied early in the pandemic that is now not recommended in the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. See COVID-19 Treatment or Search PubMed for Chloroquine treatment of COVID-19.

Home Isolation

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have been directed to stay at home until they are recovered.

Immunity

The ability to resist infection. In COVID-19 immunity can occur after natural infection or several weeks after the recommended doses of an effective vaccine. See COVID-19 Vaccines for details.

Incubation Period

The time it takes for someone to start showing symptoms after they have been infected. For COVID-19, symptoms appear 2-14 days after infection.

Infection Control

Basic procedures and precautions to prevent the spread of infection in healthcare. See COVID-2019 Infection Control.

Lopinavir / Ritonavir (LPV/r; Kaletra)

Fixed-dose antiviral medication for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Currently being evaluated in the treatment of Coronavirus. See COVID-19 Treatment.

Median Incubation Period

Time from infection to appearance of symptoms, calculated by identifying the midpoint of reported incubation periods (median) in a study population.

Monitored Emergency Use of Unregistered Interventions Framework (MEURI)

Protocol developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to evaluate the potential use of experimental drugs in the event of public health emergencies such as COVID-19.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAb or moAb)

Laboratory-produced molecules engineered to mimic the immune system’s attack on disease-causing cells. See COVID-19 Treatment.

N95 Face Mask (Respirator)

Personal protective equipment that is used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. The N95 classification – regulated by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) – means that the mask filters at least 95% of airborne particles.

Pandemic

An epidemic that has spread over several countries/continents, usually affecting a large number of people.

Patient Under Investigation (PUI)

Definition developed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for itentifying potential cases of infectious diseases. See COVID-19 Patient Under Investigation (PUI).

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Specialized clothing or equipment worn by health workers for protection against health and safety hazards. See Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for COVID-19.

PubMed

30+ million journal article citations and abstracts mostly from MEDLINE that cover the life sciences and biomedical topics. Provided by the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM). See Expert PubMed Searches for COVID-19.

Remdesivir (GS-5734)

Antiviral drug developed by Gilead that has been shown to shorten time to recovery in adults hopitalized with severe COVID-19. See COVID-19 Treatment or Search PubMed for Remdesivir treatment for COVID-19.

Reproductive Number (Reproductive Ratio; R0)

Expected number of cases directly generated by one case - in a population where all individuals are susceptible to infection.

Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)

A very sensitive technique used in laboratory testing to measure mRNA levels. Currently the gold-standard laboratory technique for detecting SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV). See Coronavirus Laboratory Diagnosis.

SARS-CoV-2 Virus

Official name of the virus formerly called "novel coronavirus 2019" or "2019-nCov". COVID-19 is the name of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. See Coronavirus COVID-19 Overview.

Serial Interval

Amount of time between successive cases in a chain of transmission.

Sequential [Sepsis-related] Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score

Scale used to track a patient’s status while in the intensive care unit (ICU) to determine the extent of organ function or rate of failure.

Social Distancing

Putting space between yourself and other people at all times. The goal is to slow down how fast an infection spreads. The CDC recommends keeping at least six feet between you and others around you in public. Social distancing also includes avoiding crowds and groups in public.

Symptomatic

Showing symptoms of disease. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

Tocilizumab

Tocilizumab (Actemra®) is a powerful injectable drug that is used to treat serious cases of rheumatologic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It is being investigated in the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19. For details see Coronavirus COVID-19 : Drug Treatment

World Health Organization (WHO)

Organization that directs the international health efforts within the United Nations’ system and leads with partners in global health responses. See WHO Coronavirus website.

Vaccines

Vaccines approved for emergeny use in some countries include Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2, Comirnaty), Moderna (mRNA-1273), and AstraZeneca / Oxford (AZD1222). For details, see Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccines.

Variant Strains of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus

A strain or variant is a slightly different version of a virus. Over time, viruses undergo random changes called mutations. Mostly these mutations don’t change anything significant about the virus but sometimes a mutated version of a virus can have competitive advantages (because they spread easier or are resistant to treatment or vaccines) and begins to spread in the community. Currently, there are three SARS-CoV-2 variant strains that are circulating globally – a UK variant (B.1.1.7), South Africa variant (B.1.351), and a Brazil variant (P.1). For more details see Strains of SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19.

Other Abbreviations

BP: blood pressure

BPM: (heart) beats per minute

CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A ventilator setting used in the ICU.

FiO2: fraction of inspired oxygen

GCQ: general community quarantine

LSI: Locally stranded individual. A foreign national or citizen who is stranded in a locality different from their normal place of residence.

LRT: lower respiratory tract

MAP: mean arterial pressure

NIV: noninvasive ventilation

OI: Oxygenation Index

OSI: Oxygenation Index using SpO2

PaO2: partial pressure of oxygen

PEEP: positive end-expiratory pressure

ROF: Returning Overseas Filipinos

SBP: systolic blood pressure

SD: standard deviation

SIRS: systemic inflammatory response syndrome

SpO2:oxygen saturation

URT: upper respiratory tract

See Also

Keywords

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Last updated: May 11, 2021