OTHER LANGUAGESKoronavirus Afrikaans Coronaclēofanwyrm ANG فيروس كورونا Arabic ڤيروس كورونا ARY Koronavirus Azerbaijani Koronavirus BJN Koronavirus BS Coronavirus Catalan Koronavirus Czech Кăшăлвирус CV
|Transmission electron micrograph of Avian coronavirus|
|Illustration of a coronavirus|
Red: spike proteins (S)
Yellow: envelope proteins (E)
Orange: membrane proteins (M)
A coronavirus is any of a group of related RNA viruses that cause diseases in mammals and birds. In humans and birds, they cause respiratory tract infections that can range from mild to lethal. Mild illnesses in humans include some cases of the common cold (which is also caused by other viruses, predominantly rhinoviruses), while more lethal varieties can cause SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. In cows and pigs they cause diarrhea, while in mice they cause hepatitis and encephalomyelitis.
Coronaviruses constitute the subfamily Orthocoronavirinae, in the family Coronaviridae, order Nidovirales, and realm Riboviria. They are enveloped viruses with a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and a nucleocapsid of helical symmetry. The genome size of coronaviruses ranges from approximately 26 to 32 kilobases, one of the largest among RNA viruses. They have characteristic club-shaped spikes that project from their surface, which in electron micrographs create an image reminiscent of the solar corona, from which their name derives.
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Coronaviruses possess the largest genomes [26.4 kb (ThCoV HKU12) to 31.7 kb (SW1)] among all known RNA viruses (Figure 1) [2,13,16].
[T]here is also a characteristic "fringe" of projections 200 A long, which are rounded or petal shaped ... This appearance, recalling the solar corona, is shared by mouse hepatitis virus and several viruses recently recovered from man, namely strain B814, 229E and several others.
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