Isolation of a novel coronavirus from a man with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia

N Engl J Med. 2012 Nov 8;367(19):1814-20. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1211721. Epub 2012 Oct 17.


A previously unknown coronavirus was isolated from the sputum of a 60-year-old man who presented with acute pneumonia and subsequent renal failure with a fatal outcome in Saudi Arabia. The virus (called HCoV-EMC) replicated readily in cell culture, producing cytopathic effects of rounding, detachment, and syncytium formation. The virus represents a novel betacoronavirus species. The closest known relatives are bat coronaviruses HKU4 and HKU5. Here, the clinical data, virus isolation, and molecular identification are presented. The clinical picture was remarkably similar to that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and reminds us that animal coronaviruses can cause severe disease in humans.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Cell Count
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Coronavirus / classification
  • Coronavirus / genetics
  • Coronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Coronavirus / physiology
  • Creatinine / blood
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Genome, Viral
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phylogeny
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnostic imaging
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Radiography
  • Renal Insufficiency / etiology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sputum / virology
  • Virus Replication / physiology


  • DNA, Viral
  • Creatinine