SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-COV: A Comparative Overview

Infez Med. 2020 Ahead Of Print Jun 1;28(2):174-184.

Abstract

The recent outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 that started in Wuhan, China, has now spread to several other countries and is in its exponential phase of spread. Although less pathogenic than SARS-CoV, it has taken several lives and taken down the economies of many countries. Before this outbreak, the most recent coronavirus outbreaks were the SARS-CoV and the MERS-CoV outbreaks that happened in China and Saudi Arabia, respectively. Since the SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the same family as of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, they share several similarities. So, this review aims at understanding the new scenario of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak and compares the epidemiology, clinical presentations, and the genetics of these coronaviruses. Studies reveal that SARS-CoV-2 is very similar in structure and pathogenicity with SARS-CoV, but the most important structural protein, i.e., the spike protein (S), is slightly different in these viruses. The presence of a furin-like cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 facilitates the S protein priming and might increase the efficiency of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 as compared to other beta coronaviruses. So, furin inhibitors can be targeted as potential drug therapies for SARS-CoV.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus / genetics
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / genetics
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / isolation & purification
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS Virus / genetics
  • SARS Virus / isolation & purification
  • SARS Virus / pathogenicity*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / virology*

Supplementary concepts

  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2