Middle East respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been a significant research focus since its discovery in 2012. Since 2012, 2,040 cases and 712 deaths have been recorded (as of August 11, 2017), representing a strikingly high case fatality rate of 36%. Over the last several years, MERS-CoV research has progressed in several parallel and complementary directions. This review will focus on three particular areas: the origins and evolution of MERS-CoV, the challenges and achievements in the development of MERS-CoV animal models, and our understanding of how novel proteins unique to MERS-CoV counter the host immune response. The origins of MERS-CoV, likely in African bats, are increasingly clear, although important questions remain about the establishment of dromedary camels as a reservoir seeding human outbreaks. Likewise, there have been important advances in the development of animal models, and both non-human primate and mouse models that seem to recapitulate human disease are now available. How MERS-CoV evades and inhibits the host innate immune response remains less clear. Although several studies have identified MERS-CoV proteins as innate immune antagonists, little of this work has been conducted using live virus under conditions of actual infection, but rather with ectopically expressed proteins. Accordingly, considerable space remains for major contributions to understanding unique ways in which MERS-CoV interacts with and modulates the host response. Collectively, these areas have seen significant advances over the last several years but continue to offer exciting opportunities for discovery.
Keywords: CoV; MERS; origin; pathogenesis.
Conflict of interest statement
Competing interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.No competing interests were disclosed.
Host Species Restriction of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Through Its Receptor, Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4N van Doremalen et al. J Virol 88 (16), 9220-32. PMID 24899185.The ongoing outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has caused 701 laboratory-confirmed cases to date, with 249 fatalities. Although bats and …
Abelson Kinase Inhibitors Are Potent Inhibitors of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus FusionCM Coleman et al. J Virol 90 (19), 8924-33. PMID 27466418.Both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV are zoonotic infections, with bats as the primary source. The 2003 SARS-CoV outbreak began in Guangdong Province in China and spread to humans …
Rooting the Phylogenetic Tree of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus by Characterization of a Conspecific Virus From an African BatVM Corman et al. J Virol 88 (19), 11297-303. PMID 25031349.It is unclear how, when, and where the highly pathogenic MERS-CoV emerged. We characterized the full genome of an African bat virus closely related to MERS-CoV and show t …
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Origin and Animal ReservoirHA Mohd et al. Virol J 13, 87. PMID 27255185. - ReviewMiddle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel coronavirus discovered in 2012 and is responsible for acute respiratory syndrome in humans. Though not …
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV): Animal to Human InteractionAS Omrani et al. Pathog Glob Health 109 (8), 354-62. PMID 26924345. - ReviewThe Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel enzootic betacoronavirus that was first described in September 2012. The clinical spectrum of MERS- …
Cited by 6 PubMed Central articles
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-Encoded ORF8b Strongly Antagonizes IFN-β Promoter Activation: Its Implication for Vaccine DesignJY Lee et al. J Microbiol 57 (9), 803-811. PMID 31452044.Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a causative agent of severe-to-fatal pneumonia especially in patients with pre-existing conditions, such as smo …
Recent Advances in the Vaccine Development Against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-CoronavirusCY Yong et al. Front Microbiol 10, 1781. PMID 31428074. - ReviewMiddle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a deadly viral respiratory disease caused by MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. To date, there is no specific treatment pro …
Antibodies and Vaccines Against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome CoronavirusJ Xu et al. Emerg Microbes Infect 8 (1), 841-856. PMID 31169078. - ReviewThe Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has spread through 27 countries and infected more than 2,200 people since its first outbreak in Saudi Arabia i …
Interferon Regulatory Factor 3-Mediated Signaling Limits Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) Coronavirus Propagation in Cells From an Insectivorous BatA Banerjee et al. Viruses 11 (2). PMID 30781790.Insectivorous bats are speculated to be ancestral hosts of Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (CoV). MERS-CoV causes disease in humans with thirty-five p …
Bats, Coronaviruses, and Deforestation: Toward the Emergence of Novel Infectious Diseases?A Afelt et al. Front Microbiol 9, 702. PMID 29696007.