SARS-CoV–2 is responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic of 2019-21. It is a beta-coronavirus belonging to the larger genus of the coronavirus family. The virus originated in the city of Wuhan, China in 2019 and quickly made its way to the rest of the world. The Covid-19 pandemic is arguably the worst since the advent of modern science, causing widespread loss of life and great economic damage. This virus causes flu-like symptoms such as cold, dry-cough, loss of smell and taste, fever, headaches, etc. by infecting the upper and lower respiratory tracts. These symptoms can exacerbate in a small fraction of infected people, resulting in pneumonia subsequently, death.
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The OC-43 virus is a coronavirus that was first isolated in 1967 from a man with a cold-like illness. Like all coronaviruses, it is a positive strand RNA virus and infects the respiratory tract. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the most common coronavirus that could be associated with human infections. It can cause symptoms associated with the common cold such as sore throat, headache, fever, cough and cold. It can also cause pneumonia in infants and can cause serious complications in immunocompromised individuals such as those suffering from HIV-AIDS.
The OC-43 Coronavirus shares a high degree of its genetic identity with SARS-CoV–2 and they are both part of the same subfamily called beta-coronaviruses. The relatively lower severity of symptoms that OC-43 causes in ordinary people and its genetic proximity to comparatively more dangerous beta-coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV–2 make it an ideal choice for testing the anti-viral efficiency of various compounds.
The Human Coronavirus 229E (HCov-229E) was first identified in 1967 belongs to the alpha-coronavirus sub family. Like other members of the coronavirus family, it infects the upper respiratory tract and causes symptoms that are commonly associated with the flu. It can cause more severe problems in immunocompromised individuals. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the HCov-229E accounted for the second most common coronavirus infections after OC-43. Compared to other members of the coronavirus family, 229E shows very little genetic variation even when isolated from distinct geographical locations.
The comparatively smaller genetic variation makes anti-viral test results more reliable with the HCov-229E.
The Influenza A virus is a member of the orthomyxovirus family, and is the causative agent of influenza, a disease that causes upper respiratory tract infections. The earliest confirmed record of an influenza pandemic dates back to 1580, and the virus has made regular appearances throughout the pages of human history. Influenza viruses show an extremely high degree of genetic variability, and their subtypes are classified according to the type of glycoproteins that the virus harbors on its cell surface. The two proteins – haemagglutinin and neuraminidase have 18 and 11 variants respectively, and the virus responsible for each outbreak is named as per the H and N antigens that it possesses.
Influenza A (H1N1)(ATCC VR-1469) – H1N1 subytype of Influenza has been the causative agent of multiple influenza outbreaks, including the deadly Spanish flu of 1918. Small genetic changes within the H1N1 virus decides its virulence and the infectivity. H1N1 variants can cause disease in birds, swine and humans. The regular outbreaks of H1N1 make it an ideal representative of the influenza family as a whole, and therefore an ideal candidate for antiviral testing.
Influenza A (H3N2) (ATCC VR-1679) – After H1N1, H3N2 is the second most common circulating variant of the influenza family. The virus was responsible for the 1968 Hong Kong flu, and like H1N1, it can infect swine, birds and humans. As the second most circulating virus, H3N2 makes for an ideal representative of the influenza family as a whole, and therefore an ideal candidate for antiviral testing.