Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are two highly transmissible and pathogenic viruses that emerged in humans at the beginning of the 21st century. Both viruses likely originated in bats, and genetically diverse coronaviruses that are related to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV were discovered in bats worldwide. In this Review, we summarize the current knowledge on the origin and evolution of these two pathogenic coronaviruses and discuss their receptor usage; we also highlight the diversity and potential of spillover of bat-borne coronaviruses, as evidenced by the recent spillover of swine acute diarrhoea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV) to pigs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was jointly funded by the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB29010000), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31621061) and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases (R01AI110964) to Z.-L.S; NIH grants (R01AI089728 and R01AI110700) to F.L.; the CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program to J.C.; and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) “One-Three-Five” Strategic Program (WIV-135-TP1) to J.C. and Z.-L.S.