Coronaviruses are a group of related viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans, coronaviruses cause respiratory tract infections that can be mild, such as some cases of the common cold (among other possible causes, predominantly rhinoviruses), and others that can be lethal, such as SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. Symptoms in other species vary: in chickens, they cause an upper respiratory tract disease, while in cows and pigs they cause diarrhea. There are yet to be vaccines or antiviral drugs to prevent or treat human coronavirus infections.
Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, in the family Coronaviridae, order Nidovirales, and realm Riboviria.They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 27 to 34 kilobases, the largest among known RNA viruses.The name coronavirus is derived from the Latin corona, meaning “crown” or “halo”, which refers to the characteristic appearance reminiscent of a crown or a solar corona around the virions (virus particles) when viewed under two-dimensional transmission electron microscopy, due to the surface covering in club-shaped protein spikes.
Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1960s.The earliest ones discovered were an infectious bronchitis virus in chickens and two in human patients with the common cold (later named human coronavirus 229E and human coronavirus OC43).Other members of this family have since been identified, including SARS-CoV in 2003, HCoV NL63 in 2004, HKU1 in 2005, MERS-CoV in 2012, and SARS-CoV-2 (formerly known as 2019-nCoV) in 2019. Most of these have involved serious respiratory tract infections.
The name “coronavirus” is derived from Latin corona, meaning “crown” or “wreath”, itself a borrowing from Greek κορώνη korṓnē, “garland, wreath”. The name refers to the characteristic appearance of virions (the infective form of the virus) by electron microscopy, which have a fringe of large, bulbous surface projections creating an image reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona. This morphology is created by the viral spike peplomers, which are proteins on the surface of the virus .
Coronaviruses are large pleomorphic spherical particles with bulbous surface projections. The diameter of the virus particles is around 120 nm. The envelope of the virus in electron micrographs appears as a distinct pair of electron dense shells.
The viral envelope consists of a lipid bilayer where the membrane (M), envelope (E) and spike (S) structural proteins are anchored. A subset of coronaviruses (specifically the members of Betacoronavirus subgroup A) also have a shorter spike-like surface protein called hemagglutinin esterase (HE).
Inside the envelope, there is the nucleocapsid, which is formed from multiple copies of the nucleocapsid (N) protein, which are bound to the positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome in a continuous beads-on-a-string type conformation. The genome size for coronaviruses ranges from approximately 27 to 34 kilobases. The lipid bilayer envelope, membrane proteins, and nucleocapsid protect the virus when it is outside the host cell.
Infection begins when the virus enters the host organism and the spike protein attaches to its complementary host cell receptor. After attachment, a protease of the host cell cleaves and activates the receptor-attached spike protein. Depending on the host cell protease available, cleavage and activation allows cell entry through endocytosis or direct fusion of the viral envelop with the host membrane.
On entry into the host cell, the virus particle is uncoated, and its genome enters the cell cytoplasm. The coronavirus RNA genome has a 5′ methylated cap and a 3′ polyadenylated tail, which allows the RNA to attach to the host cell’s ribosome for translation. The host ribosome translates the initial overlapping open reading frame of the virus genome and forms a long polyprotein. The polyprotein has its own proteases which cleave the polyprotein into multiple nonstructural proteins.
A number of the nonstructural proteins coalesce to form a multi-protein replicase-transcriptase complex (RTC). The main replicase-transcriptase protein is the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). It is directly involved in the replication and transcription of RNA from an RNA strand. The other nonstructural proteins in the complex assist in the replication and transcription process. The exoribonuclease non-structural protein for instance provides extra fidelity to replication by providing a proofreading function which the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase lacks.
One of the main functions of the complex is to replicate the viral genome. RdRp directly mediates the synthesis of negative-sense genomic RNA from the positive-sense genomic RNA. This is followed by the replication of positive-sense genomic RNA from the negative-sense genomic RNA. The other important function of the complex is to transcribe the viral genome. RdRp directly mediates the synthesis of negative-sense subgenomic RNA molecules from the positive-sense genomic RNA. This is followed by the transcription of these negative-sense subgenomic RNA molecules to their corresponding positive-sense mRNAs.
The replicated positive-sense genomic RNA becomes the genome of the progeny viruses. The mRNAs are gene transcripts of the last third of the virus genome after the initial overlapping reading frame. These mRNAs are translated by the host’s ribosomes into the structural proteins and a number of accessory proteins. RNA translation occurs inside the endoplasmic reticulum. The viral structural proteins S, E, and M move along the secretory pathway into the Golgi intermediate compartment. There, the M proteins direct most protein-protein interactions required for assembly of viruses following its binding to the nucleocapsid.Progeny viruses are then released from the host cell by exocytosis through secretory vesicles.
Human to human transmission of coronaviruses is primarily thought to occur among close contacts via respiratory droplets generated by sneezing and coughing.The interaction of the coronavirus spike protein with its complement host cell receptor is central in determining the tissue tropism, infectivity, and species range of the virus. The SARS coronavirus, for example, infects human cells by attaching to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor.
The scientific name for coronavirus is Orthocoronavirinae or Coronavirinae.Coronavirus belongs to the family of Coronaviridae.
Genus: Alphacoronavirus Species: Human coronavirus 229E, Human coronavirus NL63, Miniopterus bat coronavirus 1, Miniopterus bat coronavirus HKU8, Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, Rhinolophus bat coronavirus HKU2, Scotophilus bat coronavirus 512 Genus Betacoronavirus; type species: Murine coronavirus Species: Betacoronavirus 1, Human coronavirus HKU1, Murine coronavirus, Pipistrellus bat coronavirus HKU5, Rousettus bat coronavirus HKU9, Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, Tylonycteris bat coronavirus HKU4, Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus, Human coronavirus OC43, Hedgehog coronavirus 1 (EriCoV) Genus Gammacoronavirus; type species: Infectious bronchitis virus Species: Beluga whale coronavirus SW1, Infectious bronchitis virus Genus Deltacoronavirus; type species: Bulbul coronavirus HKU11 Species: Bulbul coronavirus HKU11, Porcine coronavirus HKU15
The most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all coronaviruses has been placed at around 8000 BCE.The MRCAs of the Alphacoronavirus line has been placed at about 2400 BCE, the Betacoronavirus line at 3300 BCE, the Gammacoronavirus line at 2800 BCE, and the Deltacoronavirus line at about 3000 BCE. It appears that bats and birds, as warm-blooded flying vertebrates, are ideal hosts for the coronavirus gene source (with bats for Alphacoronavirus and Betacoronavirus, and birds for Gammacoronavirus and Deltacoronavirus) to fuel coronavirus evolution and dissemination.
Bovine coronavirus and canine respiratory coronaviruses diverged from a common ancestor in 1951. Bovine coronavirus and human coronavirus OC43 diverged around the 1890s. Bovine coronavirus diverged from the equine coronavirus species at the end of the 18th century.
The MRCA of human coronavirus OC43 has been dated to the 1950s.
MERS-CoV, although related to several bat coronavirus species, appears to have diverged from these several centuries ago.The human coronavirus NL63 and a bat coronavirus shared an MRCA 563–822 years ago.
The most closely related bat coronavirus and SARS-CoV diverged in 1986.A path of evolution of the SARS virus and keen relationship with bats have been proposed. The authors suggest that the coronaviruses have been coevolved with bats for a long time and the ancestors of SARS-CoV first infected the species of the genus Hipposideridae, subsequently spread to species of the Rhinolophidae and then to civets, and finally to humans.
Alpaca coronavirus and human coronavirus 229E diverged before 1960.
Coronaviruses vary significantly in risk factor. Some can kill more than 30% of those infected (such as MERS-CoV), and some are relatively harmless, such as the common cold. Coronaviruses cause colds with major symptoms, such as fever, and sore throat from swollen adenoids, occurring primarily in the winter and early spring seasons. Coronaviruses can cause pneumonia (either direct viral pneumonia or a secondary bacterial pneumonia) and bronchitis (either direct viral bronchitis or a secondary bacterial bronchitis).The much publicized human coronavirus discovered in 2003, SARS-CoV, which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), has a unique pathogenesis because it causes both upper and lower respiratory tract infections.
Seven strains of human coronaviruses are known:
Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) Human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) Human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63, New Haven coronavirus) Human coronavirus HKU1 Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), previously known as novel coronavirus 2012 and HCoV-EMC Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), previously known as 2019-nCoV or "novel coronavirus 2019"
The coronaviruses HCoV-229E, -NL63, -OC43, and -HKU1 continually circulate in the human population and cause respiratory infections in adults and children world-wide.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Main article: Coronavirus disease 2019
Characteristics of patients
who have been infected with
SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV (
In December 2019, a pneumonia outbreak was reported in Wuhan, China. On 31 December 2019, the outbreak was traced to a novel strain of coronavirus, which was given the interim name 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization (WHO),later renamed SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Some researchers have suggested that the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market may not be the original source of viral transmission to humans.
As of 16 March 2020, there have been at least 6,513 confirmed deaths and more than 169,387 confirmed cases in the coronavirus pneumonia pandemic. The Wuhan strain has been identified as a new strain of Betacoronavirus from group 2B with approximately 70% genetic similarity to the SARS-CoV.The virus has a 96% similarity to a bat coronavirus, so it is widely suspected to originate from bats as well. The pandemic has resulted in serious travel restrictions.
Coronaviruses have been recognized as causing pathological conditions in veterinary medicine since the early 1970s. Except for avian infectious bronchitis, the major related diseases have mainly an intestinal location.
Coronaviruses primarily infect the upper respiratory and gastrointestinal tract of mammals and birds. They also cause a range of diseases in farm animals and domesticated pets, some of which can be serious and are a threat to the farming industry. In chickens, the infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), a coronavirus, targets not only the respiratory tract but also the urogenital tract. The virus can spread to different organs throughout the chicken.Economically significant coronaviruses of farm animals include porcine coronavirus (transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus, TGE) and bovine coronavirus, which both result in diarrhea in young animals. Feline coronavirus: two forms, feline enteric coronavirus is a pathogen of minor clinical significance, but spontaneous mutation of this virus can result in feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a disease associated with high mortality. Similarly, there are two types of coronavirus that infect ferrets: Ferret enteric coronavirus causes a gastrointestinal syndrome known as epizootic catarrhal enteritis (ECE), and a more lethal systemic version of the virus (like FIP in cats) known as ferret systemic coronavirus (FSC). There are two types of canine coronavirus (CCoV), one that causes mild gastrointestinal disease and one that has been found to cause respiratory disease. Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is a coronavirus that causes an epidemic murine illness with high mortality, especially among colonies of laboratory mice.Sialodacryoadenitis virus (SDAV) is highly infectious coronavirus of laboratory rats, which can be transmitted between individuals by direct contact and indirectly by aerosol. Acute infections have high morbidity and tropism for the salivary, lachrymal and harderian glands.
A HKU2-related bat coronavirus called swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV) causes diarrhea in pigs.
Prior to the discovery of SARS-CoV, MHV had been the best-studied coronavirus both in vivo and in vitro as well as at the molecular level. Some strains of MHV cause a progressive demyelinating encephalitis in mice which has been used as a murine model for multiple sclerosis. Significant research efforts have been focused on elucidating the viral pathogenesis of these animal coronaviruses, especially by virologists interested in veterinary and zoonotic diseases.
In domestic animals
Infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) causes avian infectious bronchitis. Porcine coronavirus (transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus of pigs, TGEV). Bovine coronavirus (BCV), responsible for severe profuse enteritis in of young calves. Feline coronavirus (FCoV) causes mild enteritis in cats as well as severe Feline infectious peritonitis (other variants of the same virus). the two types of canine coronavirus (CCoV) (one causing enteritis, the other found in respiratory diseases). Turkey coronavirus (TCV) causes enteritis in turkeys. Ferret enteric coronavirus causes epizootic catarrhal enteritis in ferrets. Ferret systemic coronavirus causes FIP-like systemic syndrome in ferrets. Pantropic canine coronavirus. Rabbit enteric coronavirus causes acute gastrointestinal disease and diarrhea in young European rabbits. Mortality rates are high. Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PED or PEDV), has emerged around the world. Sources @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronavirus