Pig Virus could be lethal if transferred to Humans Cells

Pig Virus could be lethal if transferred to Humans Cells

Ebola, bird flu and swine flu are just some of the biggest cross-species viruses to make headlines over the past few decades sparking fears that they could be the instigator of a catastrophic worldwide pandemic which, thankfully, has so far failed to come. Later, in the year 2014, when there was a diarrhea outbreak in the United States in OH pigs, it was detected and later was identified in a number of other countries.

This is not the first time that an animal-originated virus has sparked concern in the health care community because of the threat it poses to human health.

Researchers at The Ohio State University and Utrecht University in the Netherlands collaborated to better understand the new virus and its potential reach.

But there are worrying similarities between the pig virus and the Sars and Mers viruses, said the researchers.

Lab tests show that porcine deltacoronavirus, first detected in China in 2012, readily jumps between the cells of different species including humans.

Scott Kenney, an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at OARDC, compared the mechanism of the receptor to a door lock.

"Before it was found in pigs - including in the Ohio outbreak - it had only been found in various birds", said study senior author Linda Saif, an investigator in Ohio State's Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), in Wooster. Their next step is to detect the possible mode of transmission from pigs to other species. Till date, there has been no documentation filmed of humans being infected with it but there is a possibility of it, researchers say.

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This also may have been the case with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002 through 2003 which began in China and was ultimately linked with more than 8000 cases and 774 deaths in 37 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The latest study, reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how the virus targets a specific receptor molecule on the surface of cells lining the airways and digestive tract.

"If the virus can pick the lock, it can get into the cell and potentially infect the host", he said.

In what is believed to be the first study to indicate that the virus could transfer between species, researchers investigated a receptor called aminopeptidase N, which the virus could latch onto. Since then, the virus has appeared in pigs in various countries.

"From this point of view, this is only a question of whether it can replicate within the cell and cause these animal and human diseases". Likewise, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak that remains ongoing has already led to 2206 laboratory-confirmed cases and 787 associated deaths, according to WHO.

Scientists later learned that the Sars virus originated in bats before spreading to people. The virus has been found in camels, and some of the infected people have had close contact with the animals.

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