JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
REVIEW
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Human coronaviruses: what do they cause?

SARS-CoV, human coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63) and HCoV-HKU1 were first described in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively. Nevertheless, discovery of three new human coronaviruses does not necessary represent a sudden increase in emerging infections by new coronaviruses. Only SARS-CoV has recently been introduced to the human population; the other two have been circulating in humans for a long time. HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-NL63 are respiratory coronaviruses, are frequently found during lower and upper respiratory tract infections, have spread worldwide, and prefer the winter season. These characteristics do not differ greatly from the symptoms described for the 'old' viruses HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43. This report presents an overview of the current knowledge of the four human coronavirus that are now circulating in the human population.

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