COVID-19 is the disease that is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China in December of 2019 and continued to spread rapidly around the world being declared a global pandemic in March 2020. SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted from person to person through close contact and respiratory droplets providing a challenge to public health. The symptoms and severity of COVID-19 is variable ranging from asymptomatic with no clinical symptoms to severe with presence of pneumonia, hypoxemia, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This virus disproportionality impacts vulnerable populations and has exposed inequalities by income, age, race, sex, and geographic inequalities.

The cases of COVID-19 continue to rise globally with the number of cases exceeding 177 million and sadly over 3.8 million deaths. Unfortunately, there is no definite cure for COVID-19 and our knowledge of this disease is constantly evolving. COVID-19 has not only put a huge strain on the health care system but there has been significant economic and social burden with border closures, lockdowns, and social isolation. The gains in research of this disease for treatments and vaccines will have vast global impact.

Established in 2020, the CTC's COVID-19 research program concentrates on identifying and addressing key knowledge gaps that will improve patient lives, lead to better treatments for those with COVID-19, and open new avenues for the global research community to pursue.