New SARS culprit found? – 10/04/2005

  • November 22, 2013 at 2:55 am #1049

    from bridget

    China is notorious for minimizing actual numbers, but we will have
    to take this at face value.
    Do you ask,” What is Bridget getting to?”
    How many new vectors are we looking at? I know microbiologist will
    answer: limitless.
    But still, how do these new and (quickly)mutating viruses stand-up
    to what is already established as within the expected (or normal)
    range of “host to humane” contagion?
    Naturally, our on-going question is “what the heck are they willing
    to spray on to the unsuspecting population?”
    Wild Bat: A New SARS Culprit Found?

    Scientists have identified a new, unexpected suspect in their search
    to find the origin of SARS.

    Since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002-
    03 that killed around 800 people, scientists have tested several
    species of animal for coronaviruses, viruses closely related to the
    SARS virus, that may have sparked the epidemic.

    Now research by Chinese, Australian and American scientists
    indicates bats not masked civets, rats or badgers as had previously
    been suggested may be the original hosts, Xinhua reported on Friday.

    Other mammals previously suspected were only “vectors,” new research
    suggests. They became infected with the virus and passed it on, but
    were not the origin of the disease.

    Even so, a prominent Chinese disease expert insists it is too early
    to say wild bats are the definitive natural host of the virus,
    adding that more research needs to be done. In the study, conducted
    last year, researchers trapped 408 bats at four locations around
    China: south China’s Guangdong Province, the Guangxi Zhuang
    Autonomous Region, central China’s Hubei Province and Tianjin
    Municipality in north China.

    Researchers then collected bats’ blood, fecal and throat swabs, and
    analyzed their serum samples alongside DNA from fecal or throat
    samples tested independently using different methods in laboratories
    in Wuhan, Hubei’s capital, and Geelong, Australia.

    The coronaviruses found in bat samples were genetically diverse, but
    all showed some similarity to the SARS coronavirus that triggered
    the 2002-3 pandemic, said Li Wendong, a researcher from the Chinese
    Academy of Sciences.

    The genetic similarity between the bat virus strain and the SARS
    coronavirus was a 92 per cent match, the report said, leading
    researchers to their new premise.

    “The current report only raises a hypothesis that the bats might be
    the source of the virus,” said Liu Qiyong, an expert in diseases
    from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
    In further research, at least two things must be proved, Liu said.
    One is how the virus carried by bats developed into the SARS virus.

    “The 92 per cent similarity may mean nothing and does not prove the
    bat was the original host. Even if two viruses are more than 99 per
    cent similar to each other, we still cannot say that they have a
    host relationship,” Liu said. What’s more, even if the virus carried
    by the bats is 92 per cent similar to the SARS virus, it can also
    develop into other kinds of viruses, Liu noted.

    The second point is “proving how the virus came to the civets or
    other middle hosts and then to human beings,” Liu added.
    The new findings have been published in the online edition of the
    journal Science.

    Bats are hosts of several other known viruses but rarely display
    clinical symptoms, Liu said. They are also increasingly present at
    food and traditional medicine markets in southern China and
    elsewhere in Asia.
    (China Daily October 2, 2005)

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