Two more dangerous coronaviruses identified
Scientists from Ohio State University (USA) have discovered coronaviruses that can potentially pose a threat to humans. It used to be thought that seven coronaviruses were transmitted to humans, including the infamous SARS-CoV-2. But in fact, there may be more, Science reports.
So, a few years ago in Malaysia, eight children with pneumonia were hospitalized. Doctors have revealed signs of infection with a coronavirus, which was previously detected in dogs. Another pathogen, which may be dangerous, “passed” to humans from pigs.
Scientists have found no evidence that these viruses are transmitted from person to person. Perhaps each infection was a “dead-end jump”: people got an infection from an animal, but they themselves could not infect anyone, and that was the end of the outbreak. But it is possible that in the future, coronaviruses will mutate and develop this ability.
Experts have isolated the genome of the virus from samples of one of the Malay patients. Research has shown that it is a “chimera” of genes from four pathogens: two previously identified canine coronaviruses, one that infects cats, and one that looks like a swine virus. Obviously, he mutated several times before taking on this form.
“Human infections with canine coronaviruses can occur at a much higher frequency than we previously thought. This particular virus may not be transmitted between people, but we do not know for sure, ”said veterinary virologist Anastasia Vlasova.
Children who fall ill in Malaysia lived in rural areas and often came into contact with both domestic and wild animals. Scientists have noted that canine and feline coronaviruses are found all over the world, but until recently no one was purposefully looking for them. It is impossible to identify them with standard laboratory diagnostics. Therefore, it is not known for certain how common they are.
The animal that actually transmitted the new chimera virus to humans could be a cat, pig, dog, or wild forest dweller. Scientists plan to continue research to determine its possible source.
Earlier it was reported that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus strain was found in the United States, which is resistant to antibodies. It is genetically related to the British strain.