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mBio ; 12(1)2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066819


Bats host many viruses pathogenic to humans, and increasing evidence suggests that rotavirus A (RVA) also belongs to this list. Rotaviruses cause diarrheal disease in many mammals and birds, and their segmented genomes allow them to reassort and increase their genetic diversity. Eighteen out of 2,142 bat fecal samples (0.8%) collected from Europe, Central America, and Africa were PCR-positive for RVA, and 11 of those were fully characterized using viral metagenomics. Upon contrasting their genomes with publicly available data, at least 7 distinct bat RVA genotype constellations (GCs) were identified, which included evidence of reassortments and 6 novel genotypes. Some of these constellations are spread across the world, whereas others appear to be geographically restricted. Our analyses also suggest that several unusual human and equine RVA strains might be of bat RVA origin, based on their phylogenetic clustering, despite various levels of nucleotide sequence identities between them. Although SA11 is one of the most widely used reference strains for RVA research and forms the backbone of a reverse genetics system, its origin remained enigmatic. Remarkably, the majority of the genotypes of SA11-like strains were shared with Gabonese bat RVAs, suggesting a potential common origin. Overall, our findings suggest an underexplored genetic diversity of RVAs in bats, which is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Increasing contact between humans and bat wildlife will further increase the zoonosis risk, which warrants closer attention to these viruses.IMPORTANCE The increased research on bat coronaviruses after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) allowed the very rapid identification of SARS-CoV-2. This is an excellent example of the importance of knowing viruses harbored by wildlife in general, and bats in particular, for global preparedness against emerging viral pathogens. The current effort to characterize bat rotavirus strains from 3 continents sheds light on the vast genetic diversity of rotaviruses and also hints at a bat origin for several atypical rotaviruses in humans and animals, implying that zoonoses of bat rotaviruses might occur more frequently than currently realized.

Chiroptera/virology , Rotavirus Infections/transmission , Rotavirus Infections/virology , Rotavirus/genetics , Zoonoses/transmission , Zoonoses/virology , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Diarrhea/virology , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral , Genotype , Horses , Humans , Metagenomics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 68(4): 1824-1834, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-842343


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) likely has evolutionary origins in other animals than humans based on genetically related viruses existing in rhinolophid bats and pangolins. Similar to other animal coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 contains a functional furin cleavage site in its spike protein, which may broaden the SARS-CoV-2 host range and affect pathogenesis. Whether ongoing zoonotic infections are possible in addition to efficient human-to-human transmission remains unclear. In contrast, human-to-animal transmission can occur based on evidence provided from natural and experimental settings. Carnivores, including domestic cats, ferrets and minks, appear to be particularly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 in contrast to poultry and other animals reared as livestock such as cattle and swine. Epidemiologic evidence supported by genomic sequencing corroborated mink-to-human transmission events in farm settings. Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between experimentally infected cats additionally substantiates the possibility of cat-to-human transmission. To evaluate the COVID-19 risk represented by domestic and farmed carnivores, experimental assessments should include surveillance and health assessment of domestic and farmed carnivores, characterization of the immune interplay between SARS-CoV-2 and carnivore coronaviruses, determination of the SARS-CoV-2 host range beyond carnivores and identification of human risk groups such as veterinarians and farm workers. Strategies to mitigate the risk of zoonotic SARS-CoV-2 infections may have to be developed in a One Health framework and non-pharmaceutical interventions may have to consider free-roaming animals and the animal farming industry.

COVID-19 , Cattle Diseases , Swine Diseases , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Cattle , Cattle Diseases/virology , Ferrets , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Phylogeny , Rabbits , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Swine , Swine Diseases/virology