Date Published: October 6, 2005
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Partial Text: Viewed under a microscope, the coronavirus appears almost beautiful, thanks to the halo-like crown formed by its surface proteins. (“Corona” means “crown” in Latin.) Aesthetics aside, this genus of viruses is responsible for a wide range of animal and human diseases, from the common cold to the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome, familiarly known as SARS. Research efforts to design antiviral agents to combat coronaviruses intensified after SARS killed at least 800 people in 2003 and have focused mostly on just this virus. But Haitao Yang, Dawei Ma, Zihe Rao, and colleagues reasoned that it might prove more efficient to develop wide-spectrum drugs and vaccines that could work against all coronaviruses—significantly reducing the health and economic burden associated with the 25 species of coronavirus.