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1.
J Virol ; 94(12)2020 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1723543

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that recently emerged in China is thought to have a bat origin, as its closest known relative (BatCoV RaTG13) was described previously in horseshoe bats. We analyzed the selective events that accompanied the divergence of SARS-CoV-2 from BatCoV RaTG13. To this end, we applied a population genetics-phylogenetics approach, which leverages within-population variation and divergence from an outgroup. Results indicated that most sites in the viral open reading frames (ORFs) evolved under conditions of strong to moderate purifying selection. The most highly constrained sequences corresponded to some nonstructural proteins (nsps) and to the M protein. Conversely, nsp1 and accessory ORFs, particularly ORF8, had a nonnegligible proportion of codons evolving under conditions of very weak purifying selection or close to selective neutrality. Overall, limited evidence of positive selection was detected. The 6 bona fide positively selected sites were located in the N protein, in ORF8, and in nsp1. A signal of positive selection was also detected in the receptor-binding motif (RBM) of the spike protein but most likely resulted from a recombination event that involved the BatCoV RaTG13 sequence. In line with previous data, we suggest that the common ancestor of SARS-CoV-2 and BatCoV RaTG13 encoded/encodes an RBM similar to that observed in SARS-CoV-2 itself and in some pangolin viruses. It is presently unknown whether the common ancestor still exists and, if so, which animals it infects. Our data, however, indicate that divergence of SARS-CoV-2 from BatCoV RaTG13 was accompanied by limited episodes of positive selection, suggesting that the common ancestor of the two viruses was poised for human infection.IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses are dangerous zoonotic pathogens; in the last 2 decades, three coronaviruses have crossed the species barrier and caused human epidemics. One of these is the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2. We investigated how, since its divergence from a closely related bat virus, natural selection shaped the genome of SARS-CoV-2. We found that distinct coding regions in the SARS-CoV-2 genome evolved under conditions of different degrees of constraint and are consequently more or less prone to tolerate amino acid substitutions. In practical terms, the level of constraint provides indications about which proteins/protein regions are better suited as possible targets for the development of antivirals or vaccines. We also detected limited signals of positive selection in three viral ORFs. However, we warn that, in the absence of knowledge about the chain of events that determined the human spillover, these signals should not be necessarily interpreted as evidence of an adaptation to our species.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Selection, Genetic , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Betacoronavirus/classification , COVID-19 , Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Models, Molecular , Open Reading Frames/genetics , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/genetics
2.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705877

ABSTRACT

Recombination creates mosaic genomes containing regions with mixed ancestry, and the accumulation of such events over time can complicate greatly many aspects of evolutionary inference. Here, we developed a sliding window bootstrap (SWB) method to generate genomic bootstrap (GB) barcodes to highlight the regions supporting phylogenetic relationships. The method was applied to an alignment of 56 sarbecoviruses, including SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, responsible for the SARS epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic, respectively. The SWB analyses were also used to construct a consensus tree showing the most reliable relationships and better interpret hidden phylogenetic signals. Our results revealed that most relationships were supported by just a few genomic regions and confirmed that three divergent lineages could be found in bats from Yunnan: SCoVrC, which groups SARS-CoV related coronaviruses from China; SCoV2rC, which includes SARS-CoV-2 related coronaviruses from Southeast Asia and Yunnan; and YunSar, which contains a few highly divergent viruses recently described in Yunnan. The GB barcodes showed evidence for ancient recombination between SCoV2rC and YunSar genomes, as well as more recent recombination events between SCoVrC and SCoV2rC genomes. The recombination and phylogeographic patterns suggest a strong host-dependent selection of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 appears as a mosaic genome composed of regions sharing recent ancestry with three bat SCoV2rCs from Yunnan (RmYN02, RpYN06, and RaTG13) or related to more ancient ancestors in bats from Yunnan and Southeast Asia. Finally, our results suggest that viral circular RNAs may be key molecules for the mechanism of recombination.


Subject(s)
DNA Barcoding, Taxonomic/methods , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Evolution, Molecular , Genomics/methods , Recombination, Genetic , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , China , Chiroptera/virology , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Genome, Viral , Phylogeography
3.
Genome Biol Evol ; 14(2)2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684680

ABSTRACT

The lack of an identifiable intermediate host species for the proximal animal ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, and the large geographical distance between Wuhan and where the closest evolutionary related coronaviruses circulating in horseshoe bats (members of the Sarbecovirus subgenus) have been identified, is fueling speculation on the natural origins of SARS-CoV-2. We performed a comprehensive phylogenetic study on SARS-CoV-2 and all the related bat and pangolin sarbecoviruses sampled so far. Determining the likely recombination events reveals a highly reticulate evolutionary history within this group of coronaviruses. Distribution of the inferred recombination events is nonrandom with evidence that Spike, the main target for humoral immunity, is beside a recombination hotspot likely driving antigenic shift events in the ancestry of bat sarbecoviruses. Coupled with the geographic ranges of their hosts and the sampling locations, across southern China, and into Southeast Asia, we confirm that horseshoe bats, Rhinolophus, are the likely reservoir species for the SARS-CoV-2 progenitor. By tracing the recombinant sequence patterns, we conclude that there has been relatively recent geographic movement and cocirculation of these viruses' ancestors, extending across their bat host ranges in China and Southeast Asia over the last 100 years. We confirm that a direct proximal ancestor to SARS-CoV-2 has not yet been sampled, since the closest known relatives collected in Yunnan shared a common ancestor with SARS-CoV-2 approximately 40 years ago. Our analysis highlights the need for dramatically more wildlife sampling to: 1) pinpoint the exact origins of SARS-CoV-2's animal progenitor, 2) the intermediate species that facilitated transmission from bats to humans (if there is one), and 3) survey the extent of the diversity in the related sarbecoviruses' phylogeny that present high risk for future spillovers.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus/genetics , Pangolins/virology , Phylogeny , Recombination, Genetic , Animals , Humans , Phylogeography
4.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1649476

ABSTRACT

Recurrent outbreaks of novel zoonotic coronavirus (CoV) diseases in recent years have highlighted the importance of developing therapeutics with broad-spectrum activity against CoVs. Because all CoVs use -1 programmed ribosomal frameshifting (-1 PRF) to control expression of key viral proteins, the frameshift signal in viral mRNA that stimulates -1 PRF provides a promising potential target for such therapeutics. To test the viability of this strategy, we explored whether small-molecule inhibitors of -1 PRF in SARS-CoV-2 also inhibited -1 PRF in a range of bat CoVs-the most likely source of future zoonoses. Six inhibitors identified in new and previous screens against SARS-CoV-2 were evaluated against the frameshift signals from a panel of representative bat CoVs as well as MERS-CoV. Some drugs had strong activity against subsets of these CoV-derived frameshift signals, while having limited to no effect on -1 PRF caused by frameshift signals from other viruses used as negative controls. Notably, the serine protease inhibitor nafamostat suppressed -1 PRF significantly for multiple CoV-derived frameshift signals. These results suggest it is possible to find small-molecule ligands that inhibit -1 PRF specifically in a broad spectrum of CoVs, establishing frameshift signals as a viable target for developing pan-coronaviral therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus/genetics , Frameshift Mutation , Frameshifting, Ribosomal/drug effects , Viral Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Nucleic Acid Conformation , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
5.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674829

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoV) are divided into the genera α-CoVs, ß-CoVs, γ-CoVs and δ-CoVs. Of these, α-CoVs and ß-CoVs are solely capable of causing infections in humans, resulting in mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Bats have been identified as natural reservoir hosts for CoVs belonging to these two genera. Consequently, research on bat populations, CoV prevalence in bats and genetic characterization of bat CoVs is of special interest to investigate the potential transmission risks. We present the genome sequence of a novel α-CoV strain detected in rectal swab samples of Miniopterus fuliginosus bats from a colony in the Wavul Galge cave (Koslanda, Sri Lanka). The novel strain is highly similar to Miniopterus bat coronavirus 1, an α-CoV located in the subgenus of Minunacoviruses. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed a high identity of the novel strain to other α-CoVs derived from Miniopterus bats, while human-pathogenic α-CoV strains like HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 were more distantly related. Comparison with selected bat-related and human-pathogenic strains of the ß-CoV genus showed low identities of ~40%. Analyses of the different genes on nucleotide and amino acid level revealed that the non-structural ORF1a/1b are more conserved among α-CoVs and ß-CoVs, while there are higher variations in the structural proteins known to be important for host specificity. The novel strain was named batCoV/MinFul/2018/SriLanka and had a prevalence of 50% (66/130) in rectal swab samples and 58% (61/104) in feces samples that were collected from Miniopterus bats in Wavul Galge cave. Based on the differences between strain batCoV/MinFul/2018/SriLanka and human-pathogenic α-CoVs and ß-CoVs, we conclude that there is a rather low transmission risk to humans. Further studies in the Wavul Galge cave and at other locations in Sri Lanka will give more detailed information about the prevalence of this virus.


Subject(s)
Alphacoronavirus/genetics , Alphacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Genome, Viral , Alphacoronavirus/classification , Animals , Caves/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Female , Male , Phylogeny , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Sri Lanka
7.
Pharmacol Res Perspect ; 10(1): e00922, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1664440

ABSTRACT

Why a systems analysis view of this pandemic? The current pandemic has inflicted almost unimaginable grief, sorrow, loss, and terror at a global scale. One of the great ironies with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly early on, is counter intuitive. The speed at which specialized basic and clinical sciences described the details of the damage to humans in COVID-19 disease has been impressive. Equally, the development of vaccines in an amazingly short time interval has been extraordinary. However, what has been less well understood has been the fundamental elements that underpin the progression of COVID-19 in an individual and in populations. We have used systems analysis approaches with human physiology and pharmacology to explore the fundamental underpinnings of COVID-19 disease. Pharmacology powerfully captures the thermodynamic characteristics of molecular binding with an exogenous entity such as a virus and its consequences on the living processes well described by human physiology. Thus, we have documented the passage of SARS-CoV-2 from infection of a single cell to species jump, to tropism, variant emergence and widespread population infection. During the course of this review, the recurrent observation was the efficiency and simplicity of one critical function of this virus. The lethality of SARS-CoV-2 is due primarily to its ability to possess and use a variable surface for binding to a specific human target with high affinity. This binding liberates Gibbs free energy (GFE) such that it satisfies the criteria for thermodynamic spontaneity. Its binding is the prelude to human host cellular entry and replication by the appropriation of host cell constituent molecules that have been produced with a prior energy investment by the host cell. It is also a binding that permits viral tropism to lead to high levels of distribution across populations with newly formed virions. This thermodynamic spontaneity is repeated endlessly as infection of a single host cell spreads to bystander cells, to tissues, to humans in close proximity and then to global populations. The principal antagonism of this process comes from SARS-CoV-2 itself, with its relentless changing of its viral surface configuration, associated with the inevitable emergence of variants better configured to resist immune sequestration and importantly with a greater affinity for the host target and higher infectivity. The great value of this physiological and pharmacological perspective is that it reveals the fundamental thermodynamic underpinnings of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/etiology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Systems Analysis , Thermodynamics , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Chiroptera/virology , Humans , Inflammasomes/physiology , Nasopharynx/virology , Viral Tropism , Virus Internalization
8.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625960

ABSTRACT

Bats have been recognized as an exceptional viral reservoir, especially for coronaviruses. At least three bat zoonotic coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2) have been shown to cause severe diseases in humans and it is expected more will emerge. One of the major features of CoVs is that they are all highly prone to recombination. An extreme example is the insertion of the P10 gene from reoviruses in the bat CoV GCCDC1, first discovered in Rousettus leschenaultii bats in China. Here, we report the detection of GCCDC1 in four different bat species (Eonycteris spelaea, Cynopterus sphinx, Rhinolophus shameli and Rousettus sp.) in Cambodia. This finding demonstrates a much broader geographic and bat species range for this virus and indicates common cross-species transmission. Interestingly, one of the bat samples showed a co-infection with an Alpha CoV most closely related to RsYN14, a virus recently discovered in the same genus (Rhinolophus) of bat in Yunnan, China, 2020. Taken together, our latest findings highlight the need to conduct active surveillance in bats to assess the risk of emerging CoVs, especially in Southeast Asia.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/virology , Coronaviridae Infections/veterinary , Coronaviridae/classification , Coronaviridae/genetics , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Phylogeography , Recombination, Genetic , Animals , Cambodia/epidemiology , China/epidemiology , Chiroptera/classification , Coronaviridae/isolation & purification , Coronaviridae Infections/epidemiology , Coronaviridae Infections/transmission , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny
9.
Viruses ; 14(1)2022 01 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625756

ABSTRACT

Bats are reservoirs of a large number of viruses of global public health significance, including the ancestral virus for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although bats are natural carriers of multiple pathogenic viruses, they rarely display signs of disease. Recent insights suggest that bats have a more balanced host defense and tolerance system to viral infections that may be linked to the evolutionary adaptation to powered flight. Therefore, a deeper understanding of bat immune system may provide intervention strategies to prevent zoonotic disease transmission and to identify new therapeutic targets. Similar to other eutherian mammals, bats have both innate and adaptive immune systems that have evolved to detect and respond to invading pathogens. Bridging these two systems are innate lymphocytes, which are highly abundant within circulation and barrier tissues. These cells share the characteristics of both innate and adaptive immune cells and are poised to mount rapid effector responses. They are ideally suited as the first line of defense against early stages of viral infections. Here, we will focus on the current knowledge of innate lymphocytes in bats, their function, and their potential role in host-pathogen interactions. Moreover, given that studies into bat immune systems are often hindered by a lack of bat-specific research tools, we will discuss strategies that may aid future research in bat immunity, including the potential use of organoid models to delineate the interplay between innate lymphocytes, bat viruses, and host tolerance.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/immunology , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Lymphocytes/immunology , Animals , Chiroptera/virology , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Humans , Immune Tolerance , Virus Diseases/immunology , Virus Diseases/transmission , Viruses/pathogenicity
10.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625724

ABSTRACT

Bats are a reservoir for coronaviruses (CoVs) that periodically spill over to humans, as evidenced by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and SARS-CoV-2. A collection of 174 bat samples originating from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska submitted for rabies virus testing due to human exposure were analyzed using a pan-coronavirus PCR. A previously partially characterized CoV, Eptesicus bat CoV, was identified in 12 (6.9%) samples by nested RT-PCR. Six near-complete genomes were determined. Genetic analysis found a high similarity between all CoV-positive samples, Rocky Mountain bat CoV 65 and alphacoronavirus HCQD-2020 recently identified in South Korea. Phylogenetic analysis of genome sequences showed EbCoV is closely related to bat CoV HKU2 and swine acute diarrhea syndrome CoV; however, topological incongruences were noted for the spike gene that was more closely related to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. Similar to some alphaCoVs, a novel gene, ORF7, was discovered downstream of the nucleocapsid, whose protein lacked similarity to known proteins. The widespread circulation of EbCoV with similarities to bat viruses that have spilled over to swine warrants further surveillance.


Subject(s)
Alphacoronavirus/classification , Alphacoronavirus/genetics , Chiroptera/virology , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Phylogeny , Alphacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Animals , Genome, Viral , Iowa , Midwestern United States , Minnesota , Republic of Korea , Sequence Analysis, DNA , South Dakota , Viral Zoonoses/transmission
11.
Virol J ; 18(1): 205, 2021 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1619949

ABSTRACT

Co-infections have a key role in virus transmission in wild reservoir hosts. We investigated the simultaneous presence of astroviruses, coronaviruses, and paramyxoviruses in bats from Madagascar, Mayotte, Mozambique, and Reunion Island. A total of 871 samples from 28 bat species representing 8 families were tested by polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) targeting the RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase genes. Overall, 2.4% of bats tested positive for the presence of at least two viruses, only on Madagascar and in Mozambique. Significant variation in the proportion of co-infections was detected among bat species, and some combinations of co-infection were more common than others. Our findings support that co-infections of the three targeted viruses occur in bats in the western Indian Ocean region, although further studies are needed to assess their epidemiological consequences.


Subject(s)
Astroviridae Infections/epidemiology , Chiroptera/virology , Coinfection/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Paramyxoviridae Infections/epidemiology , Animals , Madagascar , Mozambique , Reunion
13.
Viruses ; 14(1)2022 01 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1611142

ABSTRACT

We found and genetically described two novel SARS-like coronaviruses in feces and oral swabs of the greater (R. ferrumequinum) and the lesser (R. hipposideros) horseshoe bats in southern regions of Russia. The viruses, named Khosta-1 and Khosta-2, together with related viruses from Bulgaria and Kenya, form a separate phylogenetic lineage. We found evidence of recombination events in the evolutionary history of Khosta-1, which involved the acquisition of the structural proteins S, E, and M, as well as the nonstructural genes ORF3, ORF6, ORF7a, and ORF7b, from a virus that is related to the Kenyan isolate BtKY72. The examination of bats by RT-PCR revealed that 62.5% of the greater horseshoe bats in one of the caves were positive for Khosta-1 virus, while its overall prevalence was 14%. The prevalence of Khosta-2 was 1.75%. Our results show that SARS-like coronaviruses circulate in horseshoe bats in the region, and we provide new data on their genetic diversity.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/virology , SARS Virus/genetics , Animals , Base Sequence , Chiroptera/classification , Evolution, Molecular , Feces/virology , Metagenomics , Mouth/virology , Phylogeny , Prevalence , Recombination, Genetic , Russia , SARS Virus/classification , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
14.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(1): e13-e27, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593659

ABSTRACT

Henipaviruses, including Nipah virus, are regarded as pathogens of notable epidemic potential because of their high pathogenicity and the paucity of specific medical countermeasures to control infections in humans. We review the evidence of medical countermeasures against henipaviruses and project their cost in a post-COVID-19 era. Given the sporadic and unpredictable nature of henipavirus outbreaks, innovative strategies will be needed to circumvent the infeasibility of traditional phase 3 clinical trial regulatory pathways. Stronger partnerships with scientific institutions and regulatory authorities in low-income and middle-income countries can inform coordination of appropriate investments and development of strategies and normative guidelines for the deployment and equitable use of multiple medical countermeasures. Accessible measures should include global, regional, and endemic in-country stockpiles of reasonably priced small molecules, monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines as part of a combined collection of products that could help to control henipavirus outbreaks and prevent future pandemics.


Subject(s)
Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Henipavirus Infections/drug therapy , Henipavirus/pathogenicity , Medical Countermeasures , Public Health , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , Chiroptera/virology , Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic , Henipavirus/classification , Henipavirus Infections/prevention & control , Henipavirus Infections/transmission , Humans , Nipah Virus/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
15.
Front Immunol ; 12: 735866, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1590052

ABSTRACT

Bats are the only mammals with self-powered flight and account for 20% of all extant mammalian diversity. In addition, they harbor many emerging and reemerging viruses, including multiple coronaviruses, several of which are highly pathogenic in other mammals, but cause no disease in bats. How this symbiotic relationship between bats and viruses exists is not yet fully understood. Existing evidence supports a specific role for the innate immune system, in particular type I interferon (IFN) responses, a major component of antiviral immunity. Previous studies in bats have shown that components of the IFN pathway are constitutively activated at the transcriptional level. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the type I IFN response in bats is also constitutively activated at the protein level. For this, we utilized highly sensitive Single Molecule (Simoa) digital ELISA assays, previously developed for humans that we adapted to bat samples. We prospectively sampled four non-native chiroptera species from French zoos. We identified a constitutive expression of IFNα protein in the circulation of healthy bats, and concentrations that are physiologically active in humans. Expression levels differed according to the species examined, but were not associated with age, sex, or health status suggesting constitutive IFNα protein expression independent of disease. These results confirm a unique IFN response in bat species that may explain their ability to coexist with multiple viruses in the absence of pathology. These results may help to manage potential zoonotic viral reservoirs and potentially identify new anti-viral strategies.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/blood , Immunity, Innate , Interferon-alpha/blood , Viruses/immunology , Animals , Cell Line , Chiroptera/genetics , Chiroptera/immunology , Chiroptera/virology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Gene Expression Regulation , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Interferon-alpha/genetics , Species Specificity , Symbiosis , Transcription, Genetic , Viruses/pathogenicity
16.
Ecohealth ; 18(4): 421-428, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1590480

ABSTRACT

We investigated the prevalence of coronaviruses in 44 bats from four families in northeastern Eswatini using high-throughput sequencing of fecal samples. We found evidence of coronaviruses in 18% of the bats. We recovered full or near-full-length genomes from two bat species: Chaerephon pumilus and Afronycteris nana, as well as additional coronavirus genome fragments from C. pumilus, Epomophorus wahlbergi, Mops condylurus, and Scotophilus dinganii. All bats from which we detected coronaviruses were captured leaving buildings or near human settlements, demonstrating the importance of continued surveillance of coronaviruses in bats to better understand the prevalence, diversity, and potential risks for spillover.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera , Coronavirus Infections , Coronavirus , Metagenomics , Animals , Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Eswatini , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny
17.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 24145, 2021 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585802

ABSTRACT

Recent studies suggest that coronaviruses circulate widely in Southeast Asian bat species and that the progenitors of the SARS-Cov-2 virus could have originated in rhinolophid bats in the region. Our objective was to assess the diversity and circulation patterns of coronavirus in several bat species in Southeast Asia. We undertook monthly live-capture sessions and sampling in Cambodia over 17 months to cover all phases of the annual reproduction cycle of bats and test specifically the association between their age and CoV infection status. We additionally examined current information on the reproductive phenology of Rhinolophus and other bat species presently known to occur in mainland southeast China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Results from our longitudinal monitoring (573 bats belonging to 8 species) showed an overall proportion of positive PCR tests for CoV of 4.2% (24/573) in cave-dwelling bats from Kampot and 4.75% (22/463) in flying-foxes from Kandal. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the PCR amplicon sequences of CoVs (n = 46) obtained clustered in Alphacoronavirus and Betacoronavirus. Interestingly, Hipposideros larvatus sensu lato harbored viruses from both genera. Our results suggest an association between positive detections of coronaviruses and juvenile and immature bats in Cambodia (OR = 3.24 [1.46-7.76], p = 0.005). Since the limited data presently available from literature review indicates that reproduction is largely synchronized among rhinolophid and hipposiderid bats in our study region, particularly in its more seasonal portions (above 16° N), this may lead to seasonal patterns in CoV circulation. Overall, our study suggests that surveillance of CoV in insectivorous bat species in Southeast Asia, including SARS-CoV-related coronaviruses in rhinolophid bats, could be targeted from June to October for species exhibiting high proportions of juveniles and immatures during these months. It also highlights the need to develop long-term longitudinal surveys of bats and improve our understanding of their ecology in the region, for both biodiversity conservation and public health reasons.


Subject(s)
Alphacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19/transmission , Chiroptera/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Alphacoronavirus/classification , Animals , Asia, Southeastern/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/classification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cambodia/epidemiology , Chiroptera/classification , Chiroptera/virology , Epidemics/prevention & control , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral/genetics , Geography , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Species Specificity
18.
Viruses ; 14(1)2021 12 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580397

ABSTRACT

Mammal-associated coronaviruses have a long evolutionary history across global bat populations, which makes them prone to be the most likely ancestral origins of coronavirus-associated epidemics and pandemics globally. Limited coronavirus research has occurred at the junction of Europe and Asia, thereby investigations in Georgia are critical to complete the coronavirus diversity map in the region. We conducted a cross-sectional coronavirus survey in bat populations at eight locations of Georgia, from July to October of 2014. We tested 188 anal swab samples, remains of previous pathogen discovery studies, for the presence of coronaviruses using end-point pan-coronavirus RT-PCR assays. Samples positive for a 440 bp amplicon were Sanger sequenced to infer coronavirus subgenus or species through phylogenetic reconstructions. Overall, we found a 24.5% positive rate, with 10.1% for Alphacoronavirus and 14.4% for Betacoronavirus. Albeit R. euryale, R. ferrumequinum, M. blythii and M. emarginatus were found infected with both CoV genera, we could not rule out CoV co-infection due to limitation of the sequencing method used and sample availability. Based on phylogenetic inferences and genetic distances at nucleotide and amino acid levels, we found one putative new subgenus and three new species of Alphacoronavirus, and two new species of Betacoronavirus.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Coronavirus/genetics , Animals , Base Sequence , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Genetic Variation , Geography , Georgia (Republic) , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
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