It first surfaced last year as "human betacoronavirus 2c EMC", but the suffixes "2c England-Qatar, "2C Jordan-N3", "England 1" have also appeared and many scientists have resorted to "novel coronavirus" - new crown-shaped virus - instead.
The infection has now emerged as a serious cause for concern, especially in India, as thousands are set to travel to Saudi Arabia in the coming days for Umrah and Haj. Emerging evidence suggests Saudi Arabia as the apparent geographic hub of the novel corona virus.
Given the potential for the MERS virus to spread from human to human through close contact and the scale of the international pilgrimage gathering during Umrah and Haj, India and Kerala in particular, is very much at risk of a potential public health emergency.
Symptoms: Causes serious and fatal respiratory illness, coughing and pneumonia, could emerge as a major cause for international concern.