In a study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases on May 20, 2021, researchers found evidence of a new coronavirus that may have originated in dogs. In 2018, human patients at a hospital in Malaysia had what looked like pneumonia but, in eight out of 301 tested deep nasal swabs, researchers found that the patients’ upper respiratory tracts were infected with a new canine coronavirus. As concluded in the report, Novel Canine Coronavirus Isolated from a Hospitalized Pneumonia Patient, East Malaysia:
“This is the first report of a novel canine-feline recombinant alphacoronavirus isolated from a human pneumonia patient. If confirmed as a pathogen, it may represent the eighth unique coronavirus known to cause disease in humans.”
To date, there’s no evidence of transmission of this novel canine coronavirus, designated CCoV-HuPn-2018, from human to human but this sort of research and these findings can help prevent future pandemics. As reported in SciTechDaily, Anastasia Vlasova, an assistant professor at the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) who conducted the study with Gregory C. Gray, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Duke University School of Medicine, and Teck-Hock Toh, a professor at SEGi University in Sarawak, Malaysia, says:
“At this point, we don’t see any reasons to expect another pandemic from this virus, but I can’t say that’s never going to be a concern in the future…We don’t really have evidence right now that this virus can cause severe illness in adults…(but) I cannot rule out the possibility that at some point this new coronavirus will become a prevalent human pathogen. Once a coronavirus is able to infect a human, all bets are off.”
In a news report from NPR, New Coronavirus Detected In Patients At Malaysian Hospital; The Source May Be Dogs, virologist Xuming Zhang at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences says he has studied coronaviruses for more than 30 years and thinks the more scientists look for unknown coronaviruses inside pneumonia patients, the more they’re going to find. He believes “there are many animal [coronaviruses] out there that can transmit to humans.” Moreover, he says scientists need to do more testing in people to find these hidden infections before they become a problem.
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