Coronavirus is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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  • Positive single-strand, enveloped RNA virus belonging to the family Coronaviridae.
  • Name derived from the Latin corona, meaning crown. Viral envelope under electron microscopy appears crown-like due to small bulbar projections formed by the viral spike (S) peplomers.
  • Virus common infection of birds and mammals causing gastroenteritis and respiratory infections.
  • Important structural proteins include spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M) and nucleocapsid (N).
  • In humans, six coronaviruses identified as causing human disease [gamma and delta coronaviruses are other subgroupings that don’t cause known human disease]
    • May cause severe disease
      • SARS (see separate module for additional details)
        • SARS-associated coronavirus felt to be an animal virus, likely of bat origin.
        • Presumed hosts include civets, wild boars, muntjac deer, hares and pheasants.
        • Animal traders in China shown to have a high prevalence of IgG antibodies to the SARS-CoV.
      • MERS-CoV (see separate module for additional details)
        • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome--Coronavirus, originally called Human coronavirus EMC (hCoV-EMC), discovered in 2012 as a cause of severe illness in the Middle East.
        • Infections to date of respiratory nature acquired in countries in or neighboring the Arabian Peninsula.
    • Usually mild to moderate human illness
      • Alpha coronaviruses 229E and NL63
      • Beta coronaviruses OC43 and HKU1

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Last updated: September 3, 2019