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From SARS to MERS: 10 years of research on highly pathogenic human coronaviruses

Rolf Hilgenfeld, Malik Peiris
Antiviral Research 2013, 100 (1): 286-95
24012996
This article introduces a series of invited papers in Antiviral Research marking the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), caused by a novel coronavirus that emerged in southern China in late 2002. Until that time, coronaviruses had not been recognized as agents causing severe disease in humans, hence, the emergence of the SARS-CoV came as a complete surprise. Research during the past ten years has revealed the existence of a diverse pool of coronaviruses circulating among various bat species and other animals, suggesting that further introductions of highly pathogenic coronaviruses into the human population are not merely probable, but inevitable. The recent emergence of another coronavirus causing severe disease, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), in humans, has made it clear that coronaviruses pose a major threat to human health, and that more research is urgently needed to elucidate their replication mechanisms, identify potential drug targets, and develop effective countermeasures. In this series, experts in many different aspects of coronavirus replication and disease will provide authoritative, up-to-date reviews of the following topics: - clinical management and infection control of SARS; - reservoir hosts of coronaviruses; - receptor recognition and cross-species transmission of SARS-CoV; - SARS-CoV evasion of innate immune responses; - structures and functions of individual coronaviral proteins; - anti-coronavirus drug discovery and development; and - the public health legacy of the SARS outbreak. Each article will be identified in the last line of its abstract as belonging to the series "From SARS to MERS: 10years of research on highly pathogenic human coronaviruses."

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