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Coronaviruses can cause a range of symptoms varying from mild symptoms such as the common cold to more serious respiratory illnesses. They primarily cause respiratory and enteric diseases in mammals and birds. Coronavirus symptoms include rhinorrhea, sneezing, cough, nasal obstruction, bronchitis and so on.

In 2012, a novel coronavirus was identified as the causative agent of rapidly progressive acute respiratory infection in two men from the Middle East. The first man was a Saudi patient presenting with pneumonia and renal failure. Another patient from Qatar with similar clinical presentation test was reported in September 2012. On 19 February 2013, a 69-year-old male died because of infection with the novel coronavirus. Up to now, WHO has been informed of a global total of 14 confirmed cases of human infection with novel coronavirus, including eight deaths.

People who get infected with the novel coronavirus develop acute, serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. The novel coronavirus infection generally presents as pneumonia. It causes kidney failure and death in some cases. However, the current understanding of the illness caused by this novel coronavirus is based on a limited number of cases and may change as more information becomes available.

The manifestations of coronavirus infection (i.e., rhinorrhea, sneezing, cough, nasal obstruction, and bronchitis) are generally self-limiting in healthy adults, certain strains such as HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-HKU1 can cause severe lower respiratory tract infection and febrile seizure, especially in infants, people of advanced age, and immunocompromised hosts.

A betacoronovirus which is known as SARS coronavirus spread rapidly throughout parts of Asia, North America, and Europe during 2002-2003. SARS-CoV infection can cause bronchial epithelial cell peeling, cilia damage, the formation of multinucleated giant cells, squamous cell aplasia, alveolar interstitial fiber cell hyperplasia, and fibrotic lung disease.

In addition to causing respiratory symptoms, chills, headache, muscle ache, and fever, infection with SARS-CoV has been shown to result in severe diffuse pneumonia, pulmonary fibrosis, and in the most severe cases, death.

References

  1. Xue Wu Zhang, et al. (2004) The 3D structure analysis of SARS-CoV S1 protein reveals a link to influenza virus neuraminidase and implications for drug and antibody discovery. Journal of Molecular Structure. 681:137-41.
  2. Shih-Wen Li, et al. (2013) Human coronaviruses: Clinical features and phylogenetic analysis. Elevsier. 1-8.
  3. Chan JF, et al. (2012) Is the discovery of the novel human betacoronavirus 2c EMC/2012 (HCoV-EMC) the beginning of another SARS-like pandemic?. J Infect. 65(6):477-89.
  4. Tripet, B, et al. (2004) Structural characterization of the SARS-Coronavirus Spike S fusion protein core. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 279(20): 20836-49.
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