Presentation

Bats’ immune response enables them to house coronaviruses without becoming sick, making them a dangerous reservoir of infection.

A family of viruses that can also cause the common cold

SARS, MERS, and COVID-19 are all infections caused by members of a group of viruses called coronaviruses.

“Coronaviruses are a family of viruses which can cause a variety of diseases in humans and animals, typically respiratory illnesses in humans," explains says S. Wesley Long, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and genomic medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. Four different coronaviruses cause up to a third of all cases of the common cold, he adds.

Coronaviruses typically reside in animals such as bats, pigs, and camels. The MERS, SARS, and COVID-19 viruses all appear to be related specifically to coronaviruses found in bats, says Dr. Long.

Viruses that have never before been known to infect humans typically are more virulent, meaning they are more likely to make people sick. “When they make the jump to humans, our preexisting immunity is low," explains Eric Cioe-Pena, MD, director of global health at Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York. “As human beings, we have never seen COVID-19 before and our immune system can’t react."

COVID-19

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel coronavirus (CoV)  SARS-CoV-2 also known as 2019-nCoV. The disease was first discovered from Wuhan, China and is spreading worldwide with 2050 laboratory-confirmed infections and 56 fatal cases reported on January 26,2020[i]. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency to gather resources and remedy this threat.

COVID-19 Coronavirus Background

There are four coronavirus genera[ii]: alphacoronavirus, betacoronavirus, gammacoronavirus, and deltacoronavirus. COVID-19’s coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the Betacoronavirus genus originating from bats. Betacoronaviruses can infect mammals, are zoonotic pathogens, and can cause severe respiratory disease in humans. Other viruses in this family are SARS coronavirus and MERS coronavirus. SARS-CoV-2 has approximately 79% sequence identity to SARS-CoV and 50% to MERS-CoV.[iii] In addition, homology modeling shows SARS-CoV-2 has a similar receptor-binding domain structure as SARS-CoV which suggests SARS-CoV-2 uses ACE2 receptor in humans for infection.

References
[i] Zhou, P. et al. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature https:// doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7 (2020)

[ii] Fan, Y.; Zhao, K.; Shi, Z.-L.; Zhou, P. Bat Coronaviruses in China. Viruses 201911, 210. https://doi.org/10.3390/v11030210

[iii] Lu R, Zhao X, Li J, et al. Genomic characterization and epidemiology of 2019 novel coronavirus: implications for virus origins and receptor binding. The Lancet. Published online January 29, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/ S0140-6736(20)30251-8

[iv] Fehr AR, Perlman S. Coronaviruses: an overview of their replication and pathogenesis. Methods Mol Biol. 2015;1282:1–23. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2438-7_1

The evolution of 2019-nCoV remains elusive. We found 4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses. This work provides yet unknown insights on 2019-nCoV and sheds light on the evolution and pathogenicity of this virus with important implications for diagnosis of this virus.


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Surface representations of the interacting complementarity determining regions (CDRs) of an idiotype Fab (A) and an antiidiotype Fab (B), showing the surfaces of atoms

involved in van der Waals contacts (purple), hydrogen bond donors (blue), and hydrogen bond acceptors (red). To facilitate identification of hydrogen bonding contact points,

seven groups are labeled on the idiotype (1­7) and the antiidiotype (1’­7′).

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