There are a myriad of coronavirus types and they typically result in upper-respiratory tract disease that can range in level from mild to moderate. There have been three new coronavirus types that have migrated from animals to humans while causing more serious illness and death.
Numerous coronavirus types exist and most of them circulate among animals such as camels, cats, and bats. Occasionally, a spillover event may occur where coronaviruses known to normally circulate animals will come into contact with humans. There are four coronavirus types that cause mild to moderate disease in humans and there are three other coronavirus types that cause more serious or fatal diseases. The SARS type coronavirus (SARS-Cov) causes a disease called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). SARS-CoV appeared in November of 2002 and disappeared by the year of 2004. In September 2012, the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was identified as the cause of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and was found to be contracted from camels. Sporadic and localized outbreaks of MERS continues to occur. Another significant coronavirus type is SARS-CoV-2. This virus causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In December 2019, COVID-19 emerged from China and the World Health Organization declared it a global pandemic on the date of March 11, 2020.
The scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are in a good position where COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics can be created swiftly. Further research will be done on topics such as how COVID-19 infects the body to cause disease as well as what would be the best plan of action to help prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19.
Human Coronavirus Types
The coronavirus name originates from the way their surface spikes look similar to the shape of crowns. The four main sub-groups of coronaviruses include alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.
Human infecting coronaviruses were initially identified during the mid-1960s.
The seven coronaviruses that are able to infect people are:
Common human coronaviruses:
1. NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
2. 229E (alpha coronavirus)
3. HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
4. OC43 (beta coronavirus)
Other human coronaviruses:
5. MERS-CoV (a beta coronavirus that causes MERS)
6. SARS-CoV (a beta coronavirus that causes SARS)
7. SARS-CoV-2 (a new coronavirus that causes COVID-19)
Regardless of location in the world, it is common for people to get infected with human coronavirus types such as HKU1, OC43, NL63, and 229E. There are situations where coronaviruses that usually infect animals will evolve and attain the ability to infect humans. Coronaviruses that go through this transformation are called human coronaviruses. Examples of human coronaviruses that result from this situation include 2019-nCoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-Cov.