Human rhinovirus (HRV) and coronavirus (HCoV) infections are associated with both upper respiratory tract illness ("the common cold") and lower respiratory tract illness (pneumonia). New species of HRVs and HCoVs have been diagnosed in the past decade. More sensitive diagnostic tests such as reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction have expanded our understanding of the role these viruses play in both immunocompetent and immunosuppressed hosts. Recent identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome viruses causing serious respiratory illnesses has led to renewed efforts for vaccine development. The role these viruses play in patients with chronic lung disease such as asthma makes the search for antiviral agents of increased importance.
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