Overlapping and discrete aspects of the pathology and pathogenesis of the emerging human pathogenic coronaviruses SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and 2019-nCoV

J Med Virol. 2020 May;92(5):491-494. doi: 10.1002/jmv.25709. Epub 2020 Feb 21.


First reported from Wuhan, The People's Republic of China, on 31 December 2019, the ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) causes great global concerns. Based on the advice of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee and the fact that to date 24 other countries also reported cases, the WHO Director-General declared that the outbreak of 2019-nCoV constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020. Together with the other two highly pathogenic coronaviruses, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), 2019-nCov and other yet to be identified coronaviruses pose a global threat to public health. In this mini-review, we provide a brief introduction to the pathology and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV and extrapolate this knowledge to the newly identified 2019-nCoV.

Keywords: coronavirus; immnopathology; immune responses; pathogenesis; respiratory tract; virus classification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • COVID-19
  • China
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / virology
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • SARS Virus / pathogenicity*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / pathology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology*