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      Human Coronaviruses and Other Respiratory Viruses: Underestimated Opportunistic Pathogens of the Central Nervous System?

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          Abstract

          Respiratory viruses infect the human upper respiratory tract, mostly causing mild diseases. However, in vulnerable populations, such as newborns, infants, the elderly and immune-compromised individuals, these opportunistic pathogens can also affect the lower respiratory tract, causing a more severe disease (e.g., pneumonia). Respiratory viruses can also exacerbate asthma and lead to various types of respiratory distress syndromes. Furthermore, as they can adapt fast and cross the species barrier, some of these pathogens, like influenza A and SARS-CoV, have occasionally caused epidemics or pandemics, and were associated with more serious clinical diseases and even mortality. For a few decades now, data reported in the scientific literature has also demonstrated that several respiratory viruses have neuroinvasive capacities, since they can spread from the respiratory tract to the central nervous system (CNS). Viruses infecting human CNS cells could then cause different types of encephalopathy, including encephalitis, and long-term neurological diseases. Like other well-recognized neuroinvasive human viruses, respiratory viruses may damage the CNS as a result of misdirected host immune responses that could be associated with autoimmunity in susceptible individuals (virus-induced neuro-immunopathology) and/or viral replication, which directly causes damage to CNS cells (virus-induced neuropathology). The etiological agent of several neurological disorders remains unidentified. Opportunistic human respiratory pathogens could be associated with the triggering or the exacerbation of these disorders whose etiology remains poorly understood. Herein, we present a global portrait of some of the most prevalent or emerging human respiratory viruses that have been associated with possible pathogenic processes in CNS infection, with a special emphasis on human coronaviruses.

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          Most cited references 244

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          Isolation of a novel coronavirus from a man with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia.

          A previously unknown coronavirus was isolated from the sputum of a 60-year-old man who presented with acute pneumonia and subsequent renal failure with a fatal outcome in Saudi Arabia. The virus (called HCoV-EMC) replicated readily in cell culture, producing cytopathic effects of rounding, detachment, and syncytium formation. The virus represents a novel betacoronavirus species. The closest known relatives are bat coronaviruses HKU4 and HKU5. Here, the clinical data, virus isolation, and molecular identification are presented. The clinical picture was remarkably similar to that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and reminds us that animal coronaviruses can cause severe disease in humans.
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            Identification of a Novel Coronavirus in Patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

            The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has recently been identified as a new clinical entity. SARS is thought to be caused by an unknown infectious agent. Clinical specimens from patients with SARS were searched for unknown viruses with the use of cell cultures and molecular techniques. A novel coronavirus was identified in patients with SARS. The virus was isolated in cell culture, and a sequence 300 nucleotides in length was obtained by a polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)-based random-amplification procedure. Genetic characterization indicated that the virus is only distantly related to known coronaviruses (identical in 50 to 60 percent of the nucleotide sequence). On the basis of the obtained sequence, conventional and real-time PCR assays for specific and sensitive detection of the novel virus were established. Virus was detected in a variety of clinical specimens from patients with SARS but not in controls. High concentrations of viral RNA of up to 100 million molecules per milliliter were found in sputum. Viral RNA was also detected at extremely low concentrations in plasma during the acute phase and in feces during the late convalescent phase. Infected patients showed seroconversion on the Vero cells in which the virus was isolated. The novel coronavirus might have a role in causing SARS. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              A novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

              A worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been associated with exposures originating from a single ill health care worker from Guangdong Province, China. We conducted studies to identify the etiologic agent of this outbreak. We received clinical specimens from patients in seven countries and tested them, using virus-isolation techniques, electron-microscopical and histologic studies, and molecular and serologic assays, in an attempt to identify a wide range of potential pathogens. None of the previously described respiratory pathogens were consistently identified. However, a novel coronavirus was isolated from patients who met the case definition of SARS. Cytopathological features were noted in Vero E6 cells inoculated with a throat-swab specimen. Electron-microscopical examination revealed ultrastructural features characteristic of coronaviruses. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining revealed reactivity with group I coronavirus polyclonal antibodies. Consensus coronavirus primers designed to amplify a fragment of the polymerase gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used to obtain a sequence that clearly identified the isolate as a unique coronavirus only distantly related to previously sequenced coronaviruses. With specific diagnostic RT-PCR primers we identified several identical nucleotide sequences in 12 patients from several locations, a finding consistent with a point-source outbreak. Indirect fluorescence antibody tests and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays made with the new isolate have been used to demonstrate a virus-specific serologic response. This virus may never before have circulated in the U.S. population. A novel coronavirus is associated with this outbreak, and the evidence indicates that this virus has an etiologic role in SARS. Because of the death of Dr. Carlo Urbani, we propose that our first isolate be named the Urbani strain of SARS-associated coronavirus. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Viruses
                Viruses
                viruses
                Viruses
                MDPI
                1999-4915
                20 December 2019
                January 2020
                : 12
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Laboratory of Neuroimmunovirology, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec, Laval, QC H7V 1B7, Canada; alainl2258@ 123456hotmail.fr (A.L.C.); ppedubeau@ 123456gmail.com (P.D.); Andreanne.Bourgouin@ 123456uqtr.ca (A.B.);
                [2 ]Faculté de médecine et des sciences de la santé, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC J1K 2R1, Canada; louise.lajoie@ 123456gmail.com
                [3 ]Research Centre of the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), Montreal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: marc.desforges@ 123456iaf.inrs.ca (M.D.); pierre.talbot@ 123456iaf.inrs.ca (P.J.T.); Tel.: +450-687-5010 (ext. 4342) (M.D.); +450-687-5010 (ext. 4300) (P.J.T.)
                Article
                viruses-12-00014
                10.3390/v12010014
                7020001
                31861926
                e6dc0381-8799-4ab8-9dd0-bd29b85d6c22
                © 2019 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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