Author(s): Pyrc K, Berkhout B, van der Hoek L
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Abstract Since the mid 60's the human coronaviruses (HCoV), represented by HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-229E, were generally considered relatively harmless viruses. This status changed dramatically with the emergence of SARS-CoV in 2002/2003. The SARS-CoV pandemic took 774 lives around the globe and infected more than 8000 people in 29 countries. SARS-CoV is believed to be of zoonotic origin, transmitted from its natural reservoir in bats through several animal species (e.g., civet cats, raccoon dogs sold for human consumption in markets in southern China). The epidemic was halted in 2003 by a highly effective global public health response, and SARS-CoV is currently not circulating in humans. The outbreak of SARS-CoV and the danger of its re-introduction into the human population, as well as the danger of the emergence of other zoonotic coronaviral infections triggered an intense survey for an efficient treatment that resulted in the evaluation of several anticoronaviral compounds. HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1 were identified shortly after the SARS-CoV outbreak. The 4 human coronaviruses HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1 cause mild respiratory illnesses when compared to SARS, but these infections are involved in 10 - 20 \% of hospitalizations of young children and immunocompromised adults with respiratory tract illness. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a successful therapy to prevent disease induction or a vaccine to prevent new infections. This review summarizes the current status of anticoronaviral strategies.
This article was published in Infect Disord Drug Targets
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals