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study shows that llamas and pigs are susceptible t

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    Posted: March 09 2017 at 10:47am
An experimental study shows that llamas and pigs are susceptible to MERS-CoV virus

In an article published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, IRTA-CReSA researchers, in collaboration with researchers from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam (The Netherlands), have studied the susceptibility of different animal species to the MERS-CoV virus. Species selection was based on in silico studies of the virus receptor (DPP4 or Dipeptidyl peptidase-4) from a long panel of animal species as compared to the human and dromedary receptor. In addition, previous studies in which the susceptibility of cell cultures of different animal origin to MERS-CoV virus infection was demonstrated at the in vitro level. Four species were selected: sheep, pig, horse and llama.

The results of the study demonstrated that both llamas and pigs are susceptible to infection with MERS-CoV, thus raising the possibility of circulation of this virus in other animal species, apart from dromedaries and alpacas.

IRTA-CReSA researchers are currently conducting further studies to evaluate the potential role of these species in virus transmission, as well as the importance of the DPP4 receptor and its distribution in the susceptibility and pathogenesis of MERS-CoV.

Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS) is an infectious disease caused by a coronavirus, the MERS-CoV. This virus was first detected in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Human symptoms range from mild to moderate (fever, cough, respiratory problems) to very serious, causing even death in 30% of cases. The main reservoir of the virus is the dromedary, but recent studies have shown the susceptibility of other animal species, such as alpaca (another camelid), to MERS-CoV infection (Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Jun; 22 (6): 1129 -31; Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Jun; 22 (6): 1031-7). (Source: IRTA)
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