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Volume 26, Number 5—May 2020
Etymologia

Etymologia: Coronavirus

Ronnie HenryComments to Author 
Author affiliation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Coronavirus [kǝ-roʹnǝ-viʺrus]

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Thumbnail of Illustration reveals the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. Photo: CDC/ Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS

Figure. Illustration reveals the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed...

The first coronavirus, avian infectious bronchitis virus, was discovered in 1937 by Fred Beaudette and Charles Hudson. In 1967, June Almeida and David Tyrrell performed electron microscopy on specimens from cultures of viruses known to cause colds in humans and identified particles that resembled avian infectious bronchitis virus. Almeida coined the term “coronavirus,” from the Latin corona (“crown”), because the glycoprotein spikes of these viruses created an image similar to a solar corona (Figure).

Strains that infect humans generally cause mild symptoms. However, more recently, animal coronaviruses have caused outbreaks of severe respiratory disease in humans, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

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References

  1. Almeida  JD, Tyrrell  DA. The morphology of three previously uncharacterized human respiratory viruses that grow in organ culture. J Gen Virol. 1967;1:1758. DOIPubMed
  2. Beaudette  FR, Hudson  CB. Cultivation of the virus of infectious bronchitis. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1937;90:518.
  3. Estola  T. Coronaviruses, a new group of animal RNA viruses. Avian Dis. 1970;14:3306. DOIPubMed
  4. Groupe  V. Demonstration of an interference phenomenon associated with infectious bronchitis virus of chickens. J Bacteriol. 1949;58:2332. DOI

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Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2605.et2605

Original Publication Date: April 06, 2020

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Table of Contents – Volume 26, Number 5—May 2020

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Ronnie Henry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop V18-2, Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA

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Page created: April 16, 2020
Page updated: April 16, 2020
Page reviewed: April 16, 2020
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.
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