A brief history of the coronavirus family – including one pandemic we might have missed

Fearless Blog

The Conversation Africa, Inc.

March 24, 2020 Burtram Fielding Director: Research Development and Principal Investigator: Molecular Biology and Virology Research Laboratory Department of Medical BioSciences, University of the Western Cape

Stray cows rest on a New Delhi street during a one-day civil curfew to combat coronavirus. Cattle may have been central to a coronavirus outbreak in 1890. Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

Scientists have known of the human coronavirus since the 1960s. But only rarely has it garnered wider recognition over the past half a century.

One example was in 2003, when the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) caused an outbreak of the disease severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in mainland China and Hong Kong. Another was in 2012, when the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) led to an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Korea, among…

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