Although viruses that belong to the coronavirus family are known since the 1930s, they only gained public health attention when they were discovered to be the causative agent of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in China in 2002-2003. On 22 September 2012, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Saudi Arabia announced the detection of what was described as a "rare pattern" of coronavirus respiratory infection in three individuals, two Saudi citizens and one person from the Gulf Region. Neither Saudi citizen survived the infection. Molecular analysis of the isolates showed that the virus belongs to the genus beta-coronavirus. It is not known if the new isolates are circulating in the population or has recently diverged. The emergence of these novel isolates that resulted in fatal human infection ascertains that health authorities all over the world must be vigilant for the possibility of new global pandemics due to novel viral infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In September 2012, a novel coronavirus was isolated from a patient in Saudi Arabia who had died of an acute respiratory illness and renal failure. The clinical presentation was reminiscent of the outbreak caused by the SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) exactly ten years ago that resulted in over 8000 cases. Sequence analysis of the new virus revealed that it was indeed a member of the same genus as SARS-CoV. By mid-February 2013, 12 laboratory-confirmed cases had been reported with 6 fatalities. The first 9 cases were in individuals resident in the Middle East, while the most recent 3 cases were in family members resident in the UK. The index case in the UK family cluster had travel history to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Although the current evidence suggests that this virus is not highly transmissible among humans, there is a real danger that it may spread to other parts of the world. Here, a brief review of the events is provided to summarize the rapidly emerging picture of this new virus.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A cohort of 154 French Hajj pilgrims participating in the 2012 Hajj were systematically sampled with nasal swabs prior to returning to France, and screened for the novel HCoV-EMC coronavirus by two real-time RT-PCR assays. Despite a high rate of respiratory symptoms (83.4%), including 41.0% influenza-like illness, no case of HCoV-EMC infection was detected. Despite the fact that zoonotic transmission was suspected in the first few cases, a recent family cluster in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia suggests that the virus might show at least limited spread from person to person, which justifies continuing epidemiological surveillance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Helicases are ubiquitous motor proteins that separate and/or rearrange nucleic acid duplexes in reactions fueled by adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis. Helicases encoded by bacteria, viruses, and human cells are widely studied targets for new antiviral, antibiotic, and anticancer drugs. This review summarizes the biochemistry of frequently targeted helicases. These proteins include viral enzymes from herpes simplex virus, papillomaviruses, polyomaviruses, coronaviruses, the hepatitis C virus, and various flaviviruses. Bacterial targets examined include DnaB-like and RecBCD-like helicases. The human DEAD-box protein DDX3 is the cellular antiviral target discussed, and cellular anticancer drug targets discussed are the human RecQ-like helicases and eIF4A. We also review assays used for helicase inhibitor discovery and the most promising and common helicase inhibitor chemotypes, such as nucleotide analogues, polyphenyls, metal ion chelators, flavones, polycyclic aromatic polymers, coumarins, and various DNA binding pharmacophores. Also discussed are common complications encountered while searching for potent helicase inhibitors and possible solutions for these problems.
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