Video Published: Nov 30, 2018
100 years ago, celebrations marking the end of the First World War were cut short by the onslaught of a devastating disease – the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. Its early origins and initial geographical starting point still remain a mystery but in the Summer of 1918, there was a second wave of a far more virulent form of the influenza virus than anyone could have anticipated. Soon dubbed ‘Spanish Flu’ after its effects were reported in the country’s newspapers, the virus rapidly spread across much of the globe to become one of the worst natural disasters in human history.
To mark the centenary and to highlight vital scientific research, the University of Cambridge has made a new film exploring what we have learnt about Spanish Flu, the urgent threat posed by influenza today, and how scientists are preparing for future pandemics.
Human Coronavirus Types
Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. There are four main sub-groupings of coronaviruses, known as alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.
Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. The seven coronaviruses that can infect people are:
Common human coronaviruses
229E (alpha coronavirus)
NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
OC43 (beta coronavirus)
HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
Other human coronaviruses
MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)
SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)
SARS-CoV-2 (the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19)
People around the world commonly get infected with human coronaviruses 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1.
Sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus. Three recent examples of this are 2019-nCoV, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV.
Page last reviewed: March 4, 2020
Content source: YouTube and National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
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