Coronaviruses: an overview of their replication and pathogenesis

Methods Mol Biol. 2015:1282:1-23. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-2438-7_1.


Coronaviruses (CoVs), enveloped positive-sense RNA viruses, are characterized by club-like spikes that project from their surface, an unusually large RNA genome, and a unique replication strategy. Coronaviruses cause a variety of diseases in mammals and birds ranging from enteritis in cows and pigs and upper respiratory disease in chickens to potentially lethal human respiratory infections. Here we provide a brief introduction to coronaviruses discussing their replication and pathogenicity, and current prevention and treatment strategies. We also discuss the outbreaks of the highly pathogenic Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the recently identified Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coronavirus / physiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome, Viral
  • Humans
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Virus Attachment
  • Virus Release
  • Virus Replication*


  • Viral Proteins