Coronaviruses (abbreviated CoVs) are a family of enveloped, positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses that infect both humans and animals. Coronaviruses got their name because their outer proteins look like a crown ("corona" means crown in Latin). There are four main subgroups of coronaviruses: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.
Coronaviruses that can infect humans (called human coronaviruses) were first identified in the mid-1960s. There are seven known human coronaviruses: four common types—229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1—and three severe types—Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV; severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV; and the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Infection with the four common coronaviruses is common worldwide, especially in young children and during cold and flu season.
Most viruses in...Read more