highly-contagious pig virus ‘poses deadly threat’ to humans – as scientists warn it could jump species - new pig
New research suggests that a highly contagious new swine virus could pose a fatal threat to humans.
Laboratory tests have shown that the first detection of the pig detamkonia virus in China in 2012 can easily jump between cells of different species, including humans.
The pathogen is similar to the deadly virus that caused Sars (
Severe acute respiratory syndromeand Mers (
Middle East respiratory syndrome
Together, it took more than 1,000 lives.
Professor Linda Saif, who participated in American studies at Ohio State University, said: "We are very worried about the emerging Crown viruses, about their damage to animals and the possibility of jumping to humans.
"When it was first discovered in Chinese pigs, the pig deltaronavirus had nothing to do with the disease.
But in 2014, among pigs in Ohio, the United States, this was found to be the cause of the outbreak of diarrhea.
Since then, the virus has appeared in pigs in different countries.
Infected young pigs have acute diarrhea and vomiting and may die.
The new study, published in the Journal of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how viruses target specific receptor molecules on the surface of airway and digestive tract cells.
A multi-functional enzyme called amineptin N is locked on the receptor, enabling the virus to reach the host.
In the laboratory, the virus not only binds to receptors in pigs as expected, but also in chickens, cats and humans.
Dr. Scott Kenney, lead researcher at The Ohio State University food and animal health research program, said: "receptors are like locks on doors.
If the virus can pry the lock, it can enter the cell and possibly infect the host.
"From this point of view, this is just a question of whether it can replicate within cells and cause disease in these animals and humans.
"No one has been infected by this virus so far.
But researchers say there are worrying similarities between swine and Sars and Mers.
In 2003 and 2002, the Sars outbreak in China was linked to 774 deaths in 37 countries.
Scientists later learned that the Sars virus originated in bats before it spread to humans.
It is believed that the Mers virus was transmitted to humans from camels. An on-
So far, the Mers epidemic in Saudi Arabia has led to more than 1,800 infections and 708 deaths.
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