Review Article

The history of the emergence and transmission of human coronaviruses

Elijah N. Mulabbi, Robert Tweyongyere, Denis K. Byarugaba
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 88, No 1 | a1872 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v88i1.1872 | © 2021 Elijah N. Mulabbi, Robert Tweyongyere, Denis K. Byarugaba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 April 2020 | Published: 10 February 2021

About the author(s)

Elijah N. Mulabbi, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Robert Tweyongyere, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Denis K. Byarugaba, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Abstract

Human coronaviruses are known respiratory pathogens associated with a range of respiratory illnesses, and there are considerable morbidity and hospitalisation amongst immune-compromised individuals of all age groups. The emergence of a highly pathogenic human coronavirus in China in 2019 has confirmed the long-held opinion that these viruses are important emerging and re-emerging pathogens. In this review article, we trace the discovery and emergence of coronaviruses (CoVs) over time since they were first reported. The review article will enrich our understanding on the host range, diversity and evolution, transmission of human CoVs and the threat posed by these viruses circulating in animal populations but overtime have spilled over to humans because of the increased proximity between humans and animals.

Keywords

Coronaviridae; host range; diversity and evolution; transmission dynamics; mutation; recombination

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