Coronaviruses have been around for a long time, even before the pandemic of COVID-19 brought sweeping changes to life as we know it. The virus derives its name from its unique structure of spike proteins that lie on the lipid bilayer. This family of viruses is known to cause respiratory tract diseases, cause flu-like symptoms and is usually contagious. Amongst the various coronaviruses, some only infect animals, however the majority in this list are also known to infect human beings.
10. Avian Coronavirus (IBV)
The avian coronavirus (IBV) causes infectious bronchitis (IB) in chickens. It is highly infectious and first discovered in North Dakota in 1931. The avian coronavirus started our modern day history of coronaviruses.
9. Canine Coronavirus (CCoV)
the canine coronavirus CCoV causes a highly contagious intestinal disease known to infect dogs.
8. Feline Coronavirus (FCoV)
the feline coronavirus FCoV is a coronavirus that is known to infect cats worldwide. It was reported in the year 2007.
7. Human Coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E)
the human coronavirus HCV-229E is found in bats and can be transmitted from infected individuals through respiratory droplets and fomites. HCV-229E is known to infect mostly children aged between six months to four years. It likely originated in bats and was reported in the year 2010.
6. Human Coronavirus NL63 (HCoV-NL63)
The HCoV-NL63 coronavirus is known to infect primarily immune-compromised individuals and infants. This coronavirus is known to spread from person to person, but only in highly populated places. It was reported in the year 2004 in the Netherlands in an infant with bronchiolitis.
5. Human Coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43)
Coronavirus OC43 is known to infect both human beings and cattle. This virus causes symptoms like the common cold but causes less respiratory tract infections compared to other coronaviruses. 29 strains across 4 classes of genotypes (A-D) have been identified. It’s estimated that genotype A originated in the 1950s while genotype D strains were detected in the year 2004.
4. Human Coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1)
Human coronavirus HKU1 is a coronavirus known to infect the upper respiratory tract. This coronavirus is known to cause the common cold, which can advance to pneumonia or bronchiolitis. It was first reported Hong Kong in January 2004, although it likely originated earlier with evidence of global distribution.
3. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV-1)
SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-1 is a coronavirus that causes SARS, which is a severe pneumonia in the infected individual. The first case of SARS was reported in 2002. This is a highly infectious virus and has a mortality rate of nearly 50%.
2. The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Related Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
The MERS-CoV coronavirus was first identified in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in April 2012. The virus spreads from an infected person to another person through close contact. When a person is infected, it damages the infected individual’s lungs with a mortality rate of over 30%.
1. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)
SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. SARS-CoV-2 has also been referred to as human coronavirus 19 (HCoV-19). It is similar to the SARS-CoV-1 coronavirus that causes SARS. The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets, and known to affect the respiratory tract and lungs. The disease is hazardous for people above the age of sixty and with co-morbidities.
Hopefully we’ve seen the worst of human coronaviruses for a long time.