Last Updated on Aug 02, 2021

What are the Types of Coronavirus?

There are 4 genera of coronaviruses, viz. alpha, beta, gamma, and delta. The 6 types of confirmed human coronaviruses HCoV fall within the alpha and beta coronaviruses:

Alpha-coronavirus

  • HCoV-NL63
  • HCoV-229E

Beta-coronavirus

  • HCoV-OC43
  • HCoV-HKU1
  • SARS-CoV
  • MERS-CoV

The seventh novel human beta-coronavirus is the 2019-nCoV is 80% similar in genetic sequence to the SARS virus.

In most cases, humans experience a common cold if they are infected either with NL63, 229E, OC43, or HKU1. When coronaviruses that infect animals transform themselves and infect humans, they tend to cause fatal outcomes, e.g. MERS, SARS, 2019-nCoV.(9)

What are the Causes of Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses live in animal hosts, such as bats, camels, cats, and cattle. Coronaviruses keep shifting hosts frequently and hence, there are transmission events from bats to palm civets to humans (in SARS), or from bats to dromedary camels to humans (in MERS). The surface S (spike) protein on the virus helps in attaching to the host surface and penetrating the host.(10, 11)

What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

The symptoms of human coronaviruses are quite similar to those of a common cold or the flu. In this new strain of coronavirus, symptoms appear about a week after the infection has occurred hence it spreads more rapidly. Despite the similarity, a different virus causes each condition.

Symptoms of human coronavirus infections are listed below:

  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath, problems due to rapid respiration, and even failure to breathe
  • Pneumonia in severe conditions
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Kidney failure
  • Death in certain immunocompromised cases (those people who have other health complications)
Symptoms of Coronavirus

In general, coronaviruses cause diseases in the liver, brain, gut, and the respiratory system.(12)

References:

  1. A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019 - (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2001017?query=featured_coronavirus)
  2. 2019 Novel Coronavirus: How We Got from the First Case to Today - (https://thewire.in/health/2019-novel-coronavirus-how-we-got-from-the-first-case-to-today)
  3. The Novel Coronavirus Originating in Wuhan, China: Challenges for Global Health Governance - (http://jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jama.2020.1097)
  4. Mechanisms of Coronavirus Cell Entry Mediated by the Viral Spike Protein - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3397359/)
  5. From SARS to MERS, Thrusting Coronaviruses into the Spotlight - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30646565)
  6. Coronavirus Infections-More Than Just the Common Cold - (http://jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jama.2020.0757)
  7. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - (http://www.ijmm.org/article.asp?issn=0255-0857;year=2003;volume=21;issue=3;spage=152;epage=160;aulast=Thomas)
  8. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: A New Global Threat - (http://www.ijaweb.org/text.asp?2016/60/2/85/176286)
  9. Human Coronavirus Types - (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/types.html)
  10. About 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) - (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html)
  11. How 2019-nCOV Spreads - (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html)
  12. Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and You - (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/2019-ncov-factsheet.pdf)
  13. 13. 2019 Novel Coronavirus-Important Information for Clinicians - (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2760782)
  14. Why India Should Worry about the New Coronavirus - (https://thewire.in/health/wuhan-coronavirus-sars-mers-flu-pandemic-quarantine-bats-wet-markets)

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