Human Coronavirus NL63

Burtram C Fielding


Future Microbiol. 2011;6(2):153-159. 

In This Article

Future Perspective

New data concerning HCoV-NL63 and other HCoVs indicate that HCoVs may be more clinically important in children and the immunocompromised than previously thought. Since vaccines are not currently available for these respiratory viruses, it is necessary to monitor epidemic patterns and investigate the spread of respiratory infections to efficiently identify, control and prevent epidemics. More comprehensive population-based studies are required to determine the involvement of HCoV-NL63 in other body systems. Also, the development of technologies to accurately identify HCoV-NL63 infections will shed light on the true incidence of this virus in the human population.

Finally, a detailed manipulation of the HCoV-NL63 genome to understand the role of the HCoV-NL63 viral genes in pathogenesis and replication, and for the subsequent development of HCoV-NL63 as a vaccine vector, is needed. This, however, is hampered by the poor growth of the virus in cell culture, as well as the lack of an appropriate animal model. The recent development of the first full-length infectious clone of HCoV-NL63 allows for the systematic experimental study – genes can be modified and/or deleted from the genome – of the functions of the various corresponding HCoV-NL63 proteins, which will lead to a better understanding of the role of the viral genes in infectivity and pathogenicity. This manipulation of the virus genome, in turn, provides a reverse genetics platform that can lead to the development of HCoV-NL63-based vector vaccines.[76]


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