What are Coronaviruses?
Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can live and reproduce in mammals and birds. In humans, they can cause mild to severe diseases in the respiratory system. There are no vaccines or anti-viral drugs currently available to prevent or treat coronavirus infections.
Coronaviruses are RNA viruses with a positive sense single-stranded RNA genome. When the infectious agent is looked at under a microscope, the outer part of the viral particle is reminiscent of the solar corona or crown that appears around the sun. This comes from the club-shaped proteins that cover the virion’s capsid.
These viruses were discovered in the late 1960s in the infected bronchioles of chickens and in humans that were exhibiting symptoms similar to the common cold. Other members of this virus family include: SARS-CoV which emerged in 2003, HCoV NL63 in 2004, HKU1 in 2005, MERS-CoV in 2012, and most recently, SARS-CoV-2 in 2019.