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The Molecular Virology of Coronaviruses with Special Reference to SARS-CoV-2

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Publication date7/02/2022
Host publicationCoronavirus Therapeutics – Volume I : Basic Science and Therapy Development
EditorsAlexzander A.A. Asea, Punit Kaur
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030851095
ISBN (Print)9783030851088
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


Introduction: Coronaviruses (CoVs) are large, enveloped and positive-sense RNA viruses which are responsible for a range of upper respiratory and digestive tract infections. Interest in coronaviruses has recently escalated due to the identification of a newly emerged coronavirus named severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this chapter, we summarise molecular virological features of coronaviruses and understand their molecular mechanisms of replication in guiding the control of the global COVID-19 pandemic.Methods: We applied a holistic and comparative approach to assess the current understanding of coronavirus molecular virology and identify research gaps among different human coronaviruses.Results: Coronaviruses can utilise unique strategies that aid in their pathogenicity, replication and survival in multiple hosts. Replication of coronaviruses involves novel mechanisms such as ribosomal frameshifting and the synthesis of both genomic and sub-genomic RNAs. We summarised the key components in coronavirus molecular biology and molecular determinants of pathogenesis. Focusing largely on SARS-CoV-2 due to its current importance, this review explores the virology of recently emerged coronaviruses to gain an in-depth understanding of these infectious diseases.Conclusions: The presented information provides fundamental bottlenecks to devise future disease control and management strategies to curtail the impact of coronaviruses in human populations.