Volume 26, Number 5—May 2020
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).
- Almeida JD, Tyrrell DA. The morphology of three previously uncharacterized human respiratory viruses that grow in organ culture. J Gen Virol. 1967;1:175–8.
- Beaudette FR, Hudson CB. Cultivation of the virus of infectious bronchitis. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1937;90:51–8.
- Estola T. Coronaviruses, a new group of animal RNA viruses. Avian Dis. 1970;14:330–6.
- Groupe V. Demonstration of an interference phenomenon associated with infectious bronchitis virus of chickens. J Bacteriol. 1949;58:23–32.
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Original Publication Date: April 06, 2020