Following outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2002 and 2012, respectively, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the third highly pathogenic emerging human coronavirus (hCoV). SARS-CoV-2 is currently causing the global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic . CoV infections in target cells may stimulate the formation of numerous double-membrane autophagosomes and induce autophagy . Several studies provided evidence that hCoV infections are closely related to various cellular aspects associated with autophagy . Autophagy may even promote hCoV infection and replication . However, so far it is unclear how hCoV infections induce autophagy and whether the autophagic machinery is necessary for viral propagation . Here, we summarize the most recent advances concerning the mutual interplay between the autophagic machinery and the three emerging hCoVs, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 and the model system mouse hepatitis virus . We also discuss the applicability of approved and well-tolerated drugs targeting autophagy as potential treatment against COVID-19.