A new human betacoronavirus in lineage c, tentatively called HCoV-EMC, was isolated from a patient from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who died from acute severe pneumonia and renal failure. The viral RNA has been detected in eight additional cases. Sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of the viral genomic RNA showed that it is a novel virus not previously detected in any other species and that its closest relatives are two Asian bat coronaviruses. HCoV-EMC may represent a sporadic spillover to humans from an unknown animal reservoir. In a recent article, van Boheemen et al. demonstrated how state-of-the-art sequencing technology and bioinformatic analysis can quickly provide critical insight into the viral genome sequence, phylogeny, replication strategy, and potential drug and vaccine targets and generate tools to evaluate the possible epidemic risk associated with this novel human virus.