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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2016 May;15(5):327-47. doi: 10.1038/nrd.2015.37. Epub 2016 Feb 12.

Coronaviruses - drug discovery and therapeutic options.

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Division of Infection and Immunity, University College London, and NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, 307 Euston Road, London NW1 3AD, UK.
State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Carol Yu Centre for Infection, Research Centre of Infection and Immunology, Department of Microbiology, University Pathology Building, Queen Mary Hospital, The University of Hong Kong, 102 Pokfulam Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
Special Infectious Agents Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Centre, and Medical Laboratory Technology Department, Faculty of Applied Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 128442, Jeddah - 21362, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Division of Respiratory Medicine and Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, 30-32 Ngan Shing Street, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.


In humans, infections with the human coronavirus (HCoV) strains HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1 usually result in mild, self-limiting upper respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold. By contrast, the CoVs responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which were discovered in Hong Kong, China, in 2003, and in Saudi Arabia in 2012, respectively, have received global attention over the past 12 years owing to their ability to cause community and health-care-associated outbreaks of severe infections in human populations. These two viruses pose major challenges to clinical management because there are no specific antiviral drugs available. In this Review, we summarize the epidemiology, virology, clinical features and current treatment strategies of SARS and MERS, and discuss the discovery and development of new virus-based and host-based therapeutic options for CoV infections.

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