Epidemic and Emerging Coronaviruses (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)

Clin Chest Med. 2017 Mar;38(1):71-86. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2016.11.007. Epub 2016 Dec 16.


Bats are the natural reservoirs of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronaviruses (CoVs) and likely the reservoir of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV. The clinical features of SARS-CoV infection and MERS-CoV infection are similar but MERS-CoV infection progresses to respiratory failure more rapidly. Although the estimated pandemic potential of MERS-CoV is lower than that of SARS-CoV, the case fatality rate of MERS is higher. The transmission route and the possibility of other intermediary animal sources remain uncertain among many sporadic primary cases. Clinical trial options for MERS-CoV infection include monotherapy and combination therapy.

Keywords: Clinical features; MERS-CoV; Pathogenesis; Respiratory tract infections; SARS-CoV; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chiroptera
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology