Freshly Identified Pig Virus Could Pose Lethal Threat To Humen
Scientists are concerned that a new virus identified in animals in the United States could pose a deadly threat, after it has been found to be able to infect human cells.
Lab tests have shown that the pathogen can readily leap between cells of different species, including animals, birds, and most worryingly for those trying to prevent an outbreak, humen. The research has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
The virus was first determined lurking in swine in China in 2012, but at the time it was not links with a disease. It was not until 2014 when swine in Ohio with full blown diarrhea and vomiting were found to be infected with the virus that the threat that it could pose was fully realized. Since then, it has been found in a number of other countries and is known to have killed livestock.
Researchers analyzing this particular virus are worried because of its similarity to the viruses that cause both severe acute respiratory syndrome( SARS ), which has a 10 percentage fatality rate and was traced back to horseshoe at-bats in China, and Middle East respiratory syndrome( MERS ), which has a 36 percent mortality rate and found in both camels and bats.
So far, porcine deltacoronavirus has not been documented in humen yet, but researchers fear that it might just be a matter of time. “Before it was found in pigs- including in the Ohio outbreak- it had only been found in various birds, ” explained Linda Saif, who led this latest examine. “We’re very concerned about emerging coronaviruses and worry about the harm they can do to animals and their potential to jump to humans.”
The team wanted to test which animals’ cells the virus to have been able to get into. To do this, they looked at the pathogen’s they are able to bind to cell surface receptors. “A receptor is like a lock up the door. If the virus can pick the lock, it can get into the cell and potentially infect the host, ” added co-author Scott Kenney.
Obviously, they found that it could enter the cells of animals, this much they already knew. But they then tested it on cultures of other animals, including chickens, cats, and humen, and found that it could get into those cells too. They point out that just because it can enter a cell, it does not inevitably mean that the virus can replicate itself, but this discovery is concerning enough as it can seemingly enter the cells of a wide variety of species.
The researchers now want to carry on their work to exam pigs for antibodies to the virus, and then see if the similar ones turn out in people.
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