what is coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are known respiratory pathogens associated with a range of respiratory outcomes. In the past 14 years, the onset of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have thrust HCoVs into spotlight of the research community due to their high pathogenicity in humans. The study of HCoV-host interactions has contributed extensively to our understanding of HCoV pathogenesis. 

Coronaviruses are types of viruses that typically affect the respiratory tract of mammals, including humans. They are associated with the common cold, pneumonia, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and can also affect the gut.

The World Health Organization decided on Thursday not to declare the current Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency. “”Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “We are completely committed to ending this new coronavirus outbreak as soon as possible. And I will not hesitate to reconvene the committee at a moment’s notice.”

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

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