Semin Respir Crit Care Med 2020; 41(04): 568-578
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1709160
Review Article
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus

Jaffar A. Al-Tawfiq
1   Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
2   Infectious Disease Division, Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana
3   Infectious Disease Division, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
Ziad A. Memish
4   Director Research & Innovation Center, Research Center Department, King Saud Medical City, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5   Department of Medicine, Al-Faisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
6   Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
18 April 2020 (online)


Emerging infectious diseases continue to be of a significant importance worldwide with the potential to cause major outbreaks and global pandemics. In 2002, the world had witnessed the appearance of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus in China which disappeared abruptly within 6 months. About a decade later, a new and emerging novel coronavirus named the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was described in a patient from Saudi Arabia. These two coronaviruses shared multiple similarities in the epidemiology, clinical presentations, and posed challenges in its prevention and management. Seven years since its discovery, MERS-CoV continues to be a lethal zoonotic pathogen capable of causing severe pneumonia with high case fatality rates and the ability to cause large health care-associated outbreaks.