Novel coronavirus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a provisional name given to coronaviruses of medical significance before a permanent name is decided upon. Although coronaviruses are endemic in humans and infections normally mild, such as the common cold (caused by human coronaviruses in ~15% of cases), cross-species transmission has produced some unusually virulent strains which can cause viral pneumonia and in serious cases even acute respiratory distress syndrome and death.[1][2][3]


The following viruses could initially be referred to as "novel coronavirus", before being formally named:

Human pathogenic novel coronaviridae species
Official name Other names Original host[a] Place of discovery Disease caused
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)[b][3] (2019) novel coronavirus (nCoV);[4][5] SARS virus 2; Human coronavirus 2019 (HCoV-19) pangolins,[6] bats Wuhan, China coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)[c][3][7]
Middle East respiratory syndrome–related coronavirus (MERS-CoV)[d] (2012) novel coronavirus;[8] MERS virus; Middle East virus; camel flu virus camels, bats Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
Human coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1) (2004) novel coronavirus;[9] New Haven virus mice Hong Kong, China unnamed, extremely rare, usually mild variant of coronavirus respiratory syndrome
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1)[b] (2002) novel coronavirus;[10][11] SARS virus civets, bats Foshan, China severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
  1. ^ Host jump capability may not persist
  2. ^ a b This virus is not a distinct species, but rather a strain of the species SARSr-CoV
  3. ^ Synonyms include 2019 coronavirus pneumonia and Wuhan respiratory syndrome
  4. ^ Strains include MERS coronavirus EMC/2012 and London1 novel CoV/2012

All four viruses are part of the Betacoronavirus genus within the coronavirus family.


The word "novel" indicates a "new pathogen of a previously known type" (i.e. known family) of virus. Use of the word conforms to best practices for naming new infectious diseases published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015. Historically, pathogens have sometimes been named after locations, individuals, or specific species.[citation needed] However, this practice is now explicitly discouraged by the WHO.[12]

The official permanent names for viruses and for diseases are determined by the ICTV and the WHO's ICD, respectively.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hubei a 2020 study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found a more than ten-fold increase in use of expressions such as "Chinese virus" or "Wu flu virus" on Twitter compared to before the outbreak. The researchers voiced concerns whether such terminology could hinder public health efforts or be stigmatizing. No such effects were observed in the wake of the MERS outbreaks being referred to as "Camel flu virus" or "Middle East virus".[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lee FE, Treanor JJ (2010). "Chapter 31: Viral Infections". In Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, King TE, Schraufnagel D, Murray JF, Nade JA (eds.). Murray and Nadel's textbook of respiratory medicine (5th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier. pp. 527–556.e15. doi:10.1016/B978-1-4557-3383-5.00032-4. ISBN 978-1-4377-3553-6. PMC 7152149.
  2. ^ Cunha BA, ed. (2010). Infectious Diseases in Critical Care Medicine (3rd ed.). New York: Informa Healthcare USA. pp. 6–18. ISBN 978-1-4200-9241-7.
  3. ^ a b c Stawicki SP, Jeanmonod R, Miller AC, Paladino L, Gaieski DF, Yaffee AQ, et al. (2020). "The 2019-2020 Novel Coronavirus (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2) Pandemic: A Joint American College of Academic International Medicine-World Academic Council of Emergency Medicine Multidisciplinary COVID-19 Working Group Consensus Paper". Journal of Global Infectious Diseases. 12 (2): 47–93. doi:10.4103/jgid.jgid_86_20. PMC 7384689. PMID 32773996.
  4. ^ Zhou P, Yang XL, Wang XG, Hu B, Zhang L, Zhang W, et al. (March 2020). "A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin". Nature. 579 (7798): 270–273. Bibcode:2020Natur.579..270Z. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2012-7. PMC 7095418. PMID 32015507.
  5. ^ "Novel Coronavirus – China". World Health Organization. 12 January 2020. Archived from the original on 23 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  6. ^ Lau SK, Luk HK, Wong AC, Li KS, Zhu L, He Z, et al. (July 2020). "Possible Bat Origin of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2". Emerging Infectious Diseases. 26 (7): 1542–1547. doi:10.3201/eid2607.200092. PMC 7323513. PMID 32315281. Sequence alignment around the RBD supported potential recombination between SARSr-Ra-BatCoV RaTG13 and pangolin-SARSr-CoV/MP789/Guangdong/2019 and the receptor-binding motif region showing exceptionally high sequence similarity to that of pangolin-SARSr-CoV/MP789/Guangdong/2019.
  7. ^ According to ICD-10 the disease is referred to as "2019-new coronavirus acute respiratory disease [temporary name]". It is not listed in ICD-11.
  8. ^ Zaki AM, van Boheemen S, Bestebroer TM, Osterhaus AD, Fouchier RA (November 2012). "Isolation of a novel coronavirus from a man with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia". The New England Journal of Medicine. 367 (19): 1814–1820. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1211721. PMID 23075143. S2CID 7671909.
  9. ^ Woo PC, Lau SK, Chu CM, Chan KH, Tsoi HW, Huang Y, et al. (January 2005). "Characterization and complete genome sequence of a novel coronavirus, coronavirus HKU1, from patients with pneumonia". Journal of Virology. 79 (2): 884–895. doi:10.1128/JVI.79.2.884-895.2005. PMC 538593. PMID 15613317.
  10. ^ Yang M, Li CK, Li K, Hon KL, Ng MH, Chan PK, Fok TF (August 2004). "Hematological findings in SARS patients and possible mechanisms (review)". International Journal of Molecular Medicine (review). 14 (2): 311–315. doi:10.3892/ijmm.14.2.311. PMID 15254784.
  11. ^ Li W, Moore MJ, Vasilieva N, Sui J, Wong SK, Berne MA, et al. (November 2003). "Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 is a functional receptor for the SARS coronavirus". Nature. 426 (6965): 450–454. Bibcode:2003Natur.426..450L. doi:10.1038/nature02145. PMC 7095016. PMID 14647384.
  12. ^ World Health Organization. (May 2015). "World Health Organization best practices for the naming of new human infectious diseases" (PDF).
  13. ^ Budhwani H, Sun R (May 2020). "Creating COVID-19 Stigma by Referencing the Novel Coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" on Twitter: Quantitative Analysis of Social Media Data". Journal of Medical Internet Research. 22 (5): e19301. doi:10.2196/19301. PMC 7205030. PMID 32343669.