Viroscience Lab`s scientists and collaborators have identified and characterized a new human coronavirus (HCoV-EMC) and published their findings in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ in 2012. To date more than a dozen HCoV-EMC infected patients with severe respiratory infection have been diagnosed in the Middle East and more than half of them have died. Although the origin of the virus is still shrouded in mystery, it should most likely be looked for in bats. The current dissemination of HCoV-EMC may either be explained by a somehow concealed circulation in the human population or by repeated introduction from an intermediate animal host.
Viroscience Lab’s Bart Haagmans and collaborators have now identified the receptor by which HCoV-EMC enters the cell. The observation that this receptor is expressed in the lower respiratory tract is consistent with clinical manifestations of HCoV-EMC infected patients. The use of the evolutionary conserved receptor, which is shared by humans and animals, provides clues about HCoV-EMC´s potential host range. These findings are published in ‘Nature’ this week. Please follow this link to the article.