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Identification of a New Human Coronavirus

Published time: 21 March 2004

Authors: Lia van der Hoek, Krzysztof Pyrc, Maarten F Jebbink, Wilma Vermeulen-Oost, Ron J M Berkhout, Katja C Wolthers, Pauline M E Wertheim-van Dillen, Jos Kaandorp, Joke Spaargaren & Ben Berkhout


Three human coronaviruses are known to exist: human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E), HCoV-OC43 and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). Here we report the identification of a fourth human coronavirus, HCoVNL63, using a new method of virus discovery. The virus was isolated from a 7-month-old child suffering from bronchiolitis and conjunctivitis. The complete genome sequence indicates that this virus is not a recombinant, but rather a new group 1 coronavirus. The in vitro host cell range of HCoV-NL63 is notable because it replicates on tertiary monkey kidney cells and the monkey kidney LLC-MK2 cell line. The viral genome contains distinctive features, including a unique N-terminal fragment within the spike protein. Screening of clinical specimens from individuals suffering from respiratory illness identified seven additional HCoV-NL63-infected individuals, indicating that the virus was widely spread within the human population.

Identification of a new human coronavirus



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