Novel human coronavirus infection overview

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Novel Human Coronavirus Infection Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective




Differentiating Novel Human Coronavirus Infection from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


Case Definitions

History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings

Chest X Ray

Other Imaging Findings

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy

Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

Case Studies

Case #1

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Novel human coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. A previously unknown coronavirus was isolated from the sputum of a 60-year-old man who presented with acute pneumonia and subsequent renal failure with a fatal outcome in Saudi Arabia. A novel coronavirus (human betacoronavirus 2c EMC/2012) has caused a handful of infections in three countries in the Middle East. Although it does not seem to be transmitted between humans, it can cause severe disease and death, and scientists are watching closely for new cases.

Historical Perspective

The virus first emerged in the Middle East, and was discovered on September 2012 in a Qatari patient who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia.[1] Virologist Ron Fouchier has speculated that the virus might originate from bats.[2]


Novel human coronavirus is a ssRNA positive-strand viruses with no DNA stage. It belongs to order Nidovirales and family Coronaviridae.

Differentiating Novel Human Coronavirus Infection from other Diseases

WHO recognizes that the emergence of a new coronavirus capable of causing severe disease raises concerns because of experience with SARS. Although this novel coronavirus is distantly related to the SARS CoV, they are different. Based on current information, it does not appear to transmit easily between people, unlike the SARS virus.


History and Symptoms

In confirmed cases of illness in humans, common symptoms have been acute, serious respiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. Based on current clinical experience, the infection generally presents as pneumonia. It is important to note that the current understanding of the illness caused by this infection is based on a limited number of cases and may change as more information becomes available.

Laboratory Findings

Lab tests (polymerase chain reaction or PCR) for the novel coronavirus are available at CDC and other international labs. Otherwise, these tests are not routinely available.

Other Diagnostic Studies

The United Kingdom's Health Protection Agency is working on the genetic sequence of the virus, based on the sequence obtained from the Qatari case.[3]


Medical Therapy

There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by the novel coronavirus. Many of the symptoms caused by this virus can be treated and therefore treatment should be based on the symptoms of the patient. Medical care is supportive and highly effective.


  1. Nebehay, Stephanie (26 September 2012). "WHO issues guidance on new virus, gears up for haj". Reuters. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  2. Doucleff, Michaeleen (28 September 2012). "Holy Bat Virus! Genome Hints At Origin Of SARS-Like Virus". NPR. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
  3. "How threatening is the new coronavirus?". BBC. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2012.

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