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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Related Coronavirus: EMC/2012

Kingdom: Viruses

Phylum: Incertae sedis

Order: Nidovirales

Family: Coronaviridae

Subfamily: Orthocoronavirinae

Genus: Betacoronavirus

Species: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Related Coronavirus

Strain: EMC/2012

NCBI: Taxonomy

Genus species

Description and Significance

EMC/2012 is a virus strain from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Related Coronavirus (MERS), which is the sixth coronavirus that is known to infect humans. Based on recent studies, the virus is originated from bats, they were able to test this by collecting fecal matter from bats of Ghana and Europe. The bats that are known to be host for this strain was found to be bats Nycteris (Ghana) and Pipistrellus (Europe). This specific strain is the first of its lineage (Betacoronavirus lineage C) to be able to affect humans. Coronaviruses could infect not only humans and bats, but other animal species as well. The infections are usually mild although they can cause very serious respiratory problems, such as the severe acute syndrome (SARS) that had a huge epidemic in the early 2000s.


The genome sequence is pictured by this link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nuccore/JX869059?fbclid=IwAR0nud1Kzqbcw1_LWB9jr5ZL9OaLHiZZDjd11ovTHI2z6l9Eg-3EFEp2bHc

Cell Structure, Metabolism and Life Cycle

MERS Coronaviruses are positive-sense RNA viruses with an envelope structure with spikes on it. Positive-sense RNA explains the way the virus would replicate, sense strand RNA viruses are single stranded and if it is positive then it would encode for mRNA and a protein. The life process of the virus begins with the protein on the surface binds to a receptor on the cell then the RNA is spreads throughout the cytoplasm and proteins are then made. After all the proteins are made, the cell release virions through the process of exocytosis. The virus could be spread to others by coughing, any respiratory secretions. Because this virus is new, the direct cause of spreading is not fully understood. There had been cases where people had obtained the virus from close contact, especially workers of the healthcare field. The symptoms are also general, patients had been recorded as feeling malaise with respiratory issues such as coughing and shortness of breath. Some of the people also had fevers, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting and some people were reported being asymptomatic.

Ecology and Known Roles in Symbiosis

MERS EMC/2012 is a virus, which is a pathogen, and they are vital in the ecosystem. Viruses are known for being a microbial predator and they tend to drive mutations that lead to evolution. Pathogens are known for eliminating life, and that sometimes has a benefit by balancing the carbon cycle. Their effects on host is majorly important because they have control over the storage and usage of carbon. Viral- induced mortalities have a significant effect on overpopulation, because it can regulate competitive exclusion, resource partitioning, etc.

Fun Facts

There was a new epidemic of MERS that broke out near the Arabian Peninsula and it is starting to spread. The virus causes a lot of respiratory issues and can lead up to death. They can cause pneumonia and kidney failure, so far there has been many deaths. It is a new beta-virus and there had not been many studies on it, so there is not much information given on the virus. It is a low risk chance for it to be a major epidemic in the United States, although there had been a few cases that appeared there but they are under quarantine.


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[“MERS Symptoms & Complications.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2 Aug. 2019, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/about/symptoms.html.] [van Boheemen, Sander et al. “Genomic characterization of a newly discovered coronavirus associated with acute respiratory distress syndrome in humans.” mBio vol. 3,6 e00473-12. 20 Nov. 2012, doi:10.1128/mBio.00473-12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509437/]


This page was authored by Jaylen Powell as part of the 2020 UM Study USA led by Dr. Erik Hom at the University of Mississippi.