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What are coronaviruses?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause disease in both humans and animals. They often circulate among camels, cats, and bats, and can sometimes evolve and infect people.

In animals, coronaviruses can cause diarrhea in cows and pigs, and upper respiratory disease in chickens. In humans, the viruses can cause mild to severe respiratory infections, and can lead to serious illnesses, like pneumonia.

Coronaviruses are named for the crown-like spikes on their surface. Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s. 

What is the novel (new) coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in November 2019. Over the next few months, the illness spread to nearly every country. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO on March 11, 2020.


Learn more about what the RTI is doing to develop therapeutics against COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 resources, including children's resource pages, vaccine tracker and more.