Whereas the XX century marked the history of acute respiratory disease investigation as a period for generating in-depth system of combating influenza viruses (Articulavirales: Orthomyxoviridae, Alpha-/Betainfluenzavirus) (based on environmental and virological monitoring of influenza A virus in its natural reservoir — aquatic and semi-aquatic birds — to supervising epidemic influenza), a similar system is necessary to build up in the XXI century with regard to especially dangerous betacoronaviruses (Nidovirales: Coronaviridae, Betacoronavirus): Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) (subgenus Sarbecovirus), Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Sarbecovirus), Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (Merbecovirus). This became particularly evident after pandemic potential has been revealed in 2020 by the SARS-CoV-2. This review provides an insight into the historic timeline of discovering this virus, its current taxonomy, ecology, virion morphology, life cycle, molecular biology, pathogenesis and clinical picture of the etiologically related COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) as well as data available in the scientific literature on the anti-SARS-CoV-2-effectiveness of passive immunotherapy and most debated drugs used to treat COVID-19: Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine, Nitazoxanide, Ivermectin, Lopinavir and Ritonavir, Camostat mesilate, Remdesivir, Ribavirin, Tocilizumab, Anakinra, corticosteroids, and type I interferons. The pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection implicates decreased efficacy of artificial respiration, which, in this case might be replaced by more efficient extracorporeal membrane blood oxygenation supplemented with nitrogen oxide and/or Heliox inhalations. © 2020 Saint Petersburg Pasteur Institute. All rights reserved.