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J Formos Med Assoc. 2013 Jul;112(7):372-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jfma.2013.05.010. Epub 2013 Jul 21.

The emerging novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus: the "knowns" and "unknowns".

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State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


A novel lineage C betacoronavirus, originally named human coronavirus EMC/2012 (HCoV-EMC) and recently renamed Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), that is phylogenetically closely related to Tylonycteris bat coronavirus HKU4 and Pipistrellus bat coronavirus HKU5, which we discovered in 2007 from bats in Hong Kong, has recently emerged in the Middle East to cause a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like infection in humans. The first laboratory-confirmed case, which involved a 60-year-old man from Bisha, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), who died of rapidly progressive community-acquired pneumonia and acute renal failure, was announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) on September 23, 2012. Since then, a total of 70 cases, including 39 fatalities, have been reported in the Middle East and Europe. Recent clusters involving epidemiologically-linked household contacts and hospital contacts in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa strongly suggested possible human-to-human transmission. Clinical and laboratory research data generated in the past few months have provided new insights into the possible animal reservoirs, transmissibility, and virulence of MERS-CoV, and the optimal laboratory diagnostic options and potential antiviral targets for MERS-CoV-associated infection.


EMC; Middle East; SARS; coronavirus; human

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