Bats, humans, monkeys, mink, big cats and big apes – coronoviruses can house many different animals. But now the list of potential hosts has been expanded to include mice according to a prospect New study.
Infected rodents pose no immediate risk to people even in cities such as London and New York, where they are ubiquitous and unwanted habitats of subway stations, basements and backyards.
Nevertheless, the finding is worrisome. As with previous work, it suggests that the new mutations are giving the virus the ability to replicate across a wider array of animal species, experts said.
“The virus is changing, and unfortunately it is changing very rapidly,” Timothy Sheehan, a virologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the new study.
In the study, researchers introduced the virus into the nasal passages of laboratory mice. Researchers found that the form of the virus, previously identified in Wuhan, China, could neither infect laboratory mice, nor B.1.1.7, a variant that is spreading throughout Europe.
But B.1.351 and P1, variants discovered in South Africa and Brazil, may replicate in rodents, Drs. Said Xavier Montegutelli, a veterinarian and mouse geneticist at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, who led the study. Research posted online earlier this month has not yet been reviewed for publication in the scientific journal.
The results only indicate that infection is possible in mice, Drs. Montagutelli said. Mice caught in the wild have not been found to be infected with coronaviruses, and so far, the virus does not appear to be capable of jumping from humans to mice, from mice to humans, or from mice to mice.
“Our results emphasize that it is necessary to regularly assess the range of species that can infect viruses, especially with the emergence of new variants,” Dr. Montagutelli said.
Coronavirus is believed to have emerged from bats, perhaps acting as an intermediate host as another animal, and scientists worry that the virus may return to what it describes as an animal “reservoir”. .
In addition to potentially devastating populations of animals, coronaviruses that spread to another species may acquire dangerous mutations, returning to humans as current vaccines were not designed to be discontinued. .
Minks are the only animals known to be able to capture and pass back coronovirus from humans. In early November, Denmark pulled 17 million farmed minks to prevent the animal from developing into a dangerous new form.
Recently, researchers found that B.1.1.7 infection in domestic cats and dogs can cause pets Development of heart problems Similar to the Kovid-19 ones.
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To establish a successful infection, coronaviruses must bind to a protein on the surface of animal cells, enter cells, and exploit their machinery to make copies of themselves. The virus should also avoid the initial efforts of the immune system to thwart the infection.
Given all those requirements, it is “quite extraordinary” that coronoviruses can infect many species, said Vincent Munster, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Generally, viruses have a more dry host range.”
Mice are a known reservoir for hanaviruses, which causes a rare and fatal disease in people. Even though coronovirus variants may not be able to jump from mice to people, they do have the ability to spread among rodents, develop into new variants, and infect people again, Drs. Munster said.
Variants can also be threatened like endangered species Black legged ferrets. Dr. “This virus can surprise us more than anything or any other previous virus,” Munster said. “We must make a mistake with caution.”
Dr. Sheehan said that he was more concerned about the transmission from farm animals and pets to people than mice.
“You’re not catching and trafficking wild rats in your house – all getting up on their faces and sharing the same airspace, like maybe with your cat or your dog,” he said . “I’m more concerned about wild or domestic animals with whom we have more intimate relationships.”
But he and other experts said the results emphasized the need to closely monitor rapid changes in the virus.
“It’s like a targeting – it’s crazy,” he said. “There is nothing we can do about it except try and get people vaccinated really fast.”