MERS-CoV: Understanding the latest human coronavirus threat
Fielding, Burtram C.
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Human coronaviruses cause both upper and lower respiratory tract infections in humans. In 2012, a sixth human coronavirus (hCoV) was isolated from a patient presenting with severe respiratory illness. The 60-year-old man died as a result of renal and respiratory failure after admission to a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The aetiological agent was eventually identified as a coronavirus and designated Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). MERS-CoV has now been reported in more than 27 countries across the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and Asia. As of July 2017, 2040 MERS-CoV laboratory confirmed cases, resulting in 712 deaths, were reported globally, with a majority of these cases from the Arabian Peninsula. This review summarises the current understanding of MERS-CoV, with special reference to the (i) genome structure; (ii) clinical features; (iii) diagnosis of infection; and (iv) treatment and vaccine development.