SARS and MERS: recent insights into emerging coronaviruses

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2016 Aug;14(8):523-34. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2016.81. Epub 2016 Jun 27.


The emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012 marked the second introduction of a highly pathogenic coronavirus into the human population in the twenty-first century. The continuing introductions of MERS-CoV from dromedary camels, the subsequent travel-related viral spread, the unprecedented nosocomial outbreaks and the high case-fatality rates highlight the need for prophylactic and therapeutic measures. Scientific advancements since the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) pandemic allowed for rapid progress in our understanding of the epidemiology and pathogenesis of MERS-CoV and the development of therapeutics. In this Review, we detail our present understanding of the transmission and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and discuss the current state of development of measures to combat emerging coronaviruses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Camelus / virology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / prevention & control
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Cross Infection
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immune Evasion
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / physiology
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / ultrastructure
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • SARS Virus / pathogenicity*
  • SARS Virus / physiology
  • SARS Virus / ultrastructure
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / immunology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / transmission
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology*
  • Travel
  • Virus Replication