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Co-circulation of two SARS-CoV-2 variant strains within imported pet hamsters in Hong Kong.
Kok, Kin-Hang; Wong, Shuk-Ching; Chan, Wan-Mui; Wen, Lei; Chu, Allen Wing-Ho; Ip, Jonathan Daniel; Lee, Lam-Kwong; Wong, Ivan Tak-Fai; Lo, Hazel Wing-Hei; Cheng, Vincent Chi-Chung; Ho, Alex Yat-Man; Lam, Bosco Hoi-Shiu; Tse, Herman; Lung, David; Ng, Ken Ng Ho-Leung; Au, Albert Ka-Wing; Siu, Gilman Kit-Hang; Yuen, Kwok-Yung.
  • Kok KH; State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Carol Yu Centre for Infection, Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Wong SC; bCentre for Virology, Vaccinology and Therapeutics, Hong Kong Science and Technology Park, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Chan WM; Infection Control Team, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong West Cluster, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Wen L; State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Carol Yu Centre for Infection, Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Chu AW; State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Carol Yu Centre for Infection, Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Ip JD; State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Carol Yu Centre for Infection, Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Lee LK; State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Carol Yu Centre for Infection, Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Wong IT; Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Lo HW; Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Cheng VC; Department of Health Technology and Informatics, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Ho AY; State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Carol Yu Centre for Infection, Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Lam BH; Infection Control Team, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong West Cluster, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Tse H; Department of Microbiology, Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Lung D; Department of Pathology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Ng KNH; Department of Pathology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Au AK; Department of Pathology, Hong Kong Children's Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Siu GK; Department of Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
  • Yuen KY; Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 689-698, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713523
ABSTRACT
During the investigation of a pet shop outbreak of severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with probable hamster-to-human transmission, the environmental and hamster samples in epidemiologically linked pet shops were found positive for SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant AY.127 strains which are phylogenetically closely related to patients and reported European strains. This interspecies' spill-over has triggered transmission in 58 patients epidemiologically linked to three pet shops. Incidentally, three dwarf hamsters imported from the Netherlands and centralized in a warehouse distributing animals to pet shops were positive for SARS-CoV-2 spike variant phylogenetically related to European B.1.258 strains from March 2020. This B.1.258 strain almost disappeared in July 2021. While no hamster-to-human transmission of B.1.258-like strain was found in this outbreak, molecular docking showed that its spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) has a similar binding energy to human ACE2 compared to that of Delta variant AY.127. Therefore, the potential of this B.1.258-related spike variant for interspecies jumping cannot be ignored. The co-circulation of B.1.258-related spike variants with Delta AY.127, which originated in Europe and was not previously found in Hong Kong, suggested that hamsters in our wholesale warehouse and retail pet shops more likely have acquired these viruses in the Netherlands or stopovers during delivery by aviation than locally. The risk of human-to-hamster reverse zoonosis by multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants leading to further adaptive spike mutations with subsequent transmission back to humans cannot be underestimated as an outbreak source of COVID-19. Testing imported pet animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 is warranted to prevent future outbreaks.
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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 Topics: Variants Limits: Animals / Humans Country/Region as subject: Asia Language: English Journal: Emerg Microbes Infect Year: 2022 Document Type: Article

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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 Topics: Variants Limits: Animals / Humans Country/Region as subject: Asia Language: English Journal: Emerg Microbes Infect Year: 2022 Document Type: Article