Animal coronaviruses and SARS‐CoV‐2

Guangzhi Zhang, Bin Li, Dongwan Yoo, Tong Qin, Xiaodon Zhang, Yaxiong Jia, Shangjin Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It has rapidly spread to 216 countries and territories since first outbreak in December of 2019, posing a substantial economic losses and extraordinary threats to the public health worldwide. Although bats have been suggested as the natural host of SARS-CoV-2, transmission chains of this virus, role of animals during cross-species transmission, and future concerns remain unclear. Diverse animal coronaviruses have extensively been studied since the discovery of avian coronavirus in 1930s. The current article comprehensively reviews and discusses the current understanding about animal coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2 for their emergence, transmission, zoonotic potential, alteration of tissue/host tropism, evolution, status of vaccines, and surveillance. This study aims at providing guidance for control of COVID-19 and preventative strategies for possible future outbreaks of zoonotic coronavirus via cross-species transmission.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1097-1110
Number of pages14
JournalTransboundary and Emerging Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2021


  • Animal coronavirus
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Zoonotic coronavirus
  • Viral evolution
  • Tissue host tropism
  • COVID-19

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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