In recent decades, humans have witnessed several epidemics of infectious diseases caused by zoonotic coronaviruses with proper names given by stakeholders. Unfortunately, as an earlier nomenclature practice, the origin of naming “coronavirus” is always misjudged in scientific community.
To my knowledge, the novel human respiratory viruses with uncharacterized morphology were first observed by electron microscopy in St Thomas’s Hospital, London and afterwards named coronaviruses by Anthony Peter Waterson and his colleagues at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith. In the mid-sixties, Dr. June Dalziel Almeida was the first to examine avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) and the human avian IBV-like virus by negative staining electron microscopy. On 16 November 1968, the neologism “coronaviruses” was proposed by eight virologists – J. D. Almeida, D. M. Berry, C. H. Cunningham, D. Hamre, M. S. Hofstad, L. Mallucci, K. Mcintosh and D. A. J. Tyrrell – in a brief annotation of Nature (Coronaviruses, Nature 220:650, 1968).
Answers to many open questions remain unknown:
1. What’re the full name of the eight virologists of the 1968 annotation of Nature?
2. What’s the seminal idea behind the historical story of naming “coronaviruses”?
3. When the term “coronaviruses” was first coined?
4. Which is the first/earliest picture of coronavirus by negative staining electron microscopy? What’s the pertinent information about the picture?
5. Were the terms “coronavirus” and “coronaviruses” borrowed from other languages?
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