Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Scientists have detected a new type of coronavirus found in dogs in some people with pneumonia. It might sound alarming to say, but after analyzing it, it seems that because of it you don’t need to worry. A group of well-respected international scientists have informed the Department of Clinical Infectious Diseases (CIC) that eight people in a hospital in Sarawak, Malaysia, have tested positive for the canine coronavirus.
So should this be interpreted to mean that dogs can transmit the coronavirus to humans? The first thing to clarify is what the corona virus in dogs is. It’s important to know that it’s quite different from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The corona virus family can be divided into four groups of viruses: alpha, beta, gamma, and delta corona viruses.
Corona virus completely different from dogs
SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the beta corona virus group, while the dog corona virus belongs to an entirely different alpha corona virus group. Scientists have known about the dog corona virus for almost 50 years. For much of this time, these viruses have existed with an unknown existence and were only interested in vets and sometimes dog owners.
There is no previous information on these viruses infecting humans. But now, suddenly, because of everyone’s eyes on the corona virus all over the world, traces of the presence of the corona virus are being found even in places where they had never been seen before. Recently, the coronavirus infection of dogs found in humans was actually the result of serious research in this direction. The people who were part of this discovery had been healed for a long time.
Scientists weren’t specifically looking just for dog coronaviruses, researchers were trying to develop a test that could detect all types of coronaviruses at the same time – a so-called pan-CoV test. After confirming that the test worked on laboratory-prepared samples of the virus, he tested it on samples from 192 pneumonia patients hospitalized in Malaysia. Of these, the result of nine samples turned positive for the corona virus.
Patient nose and throat specimen examination study
Upon further investigation in this regard, it was found that of the above nine samples, five were common human corona viruses that can cause a common cold. But, surprisingly, four samples were from the coronavirus found in dogs. Upon further examination of patients from the same hospital, four more positive patients emerged. In an effort to learn more about the coronaviruses found in dogs, researchers studied nose and throat samples from eight Malaysian patients.
These samples were injected into the dog’s cells in the lab to determine if a live virus was present. Viruses from the same sample fully replicated and the virus particles could be observed under electron microscopy. Scientists were also able to sequence the genome of the virus. The analysis found that the coronavirus found in dogs was closely related to a few different alpha coronaviruses – including those from pigs and cats – and also revealed that it had not previously been identified elsewhere.
no evidence of further spread
Now the question arises as to whether this coronavirus found in dogs was responsible for pneumonia in patients? At this time, we cannot answer this question. Seven of the eight patients who were part of the survey were also infected simultaneously with another virus, which was either an adenovirus, an influenza virus or a parainfluenza virus. We know that all of these viruses can cause pneumonia on their own, so they’re more likely to be responsible for the disease. It can be said that the pneumonia found in these patients is related to the corona virus in dogs, but it cannot be said that this virus is the only cause of pneumonia in them.
There are fears that the canine corona virus found in these patients in Malaysia could be transmitted from person to person, and if that happens, it will lead to a large-scale epidemic of the disease. Those who raise this obvious fact do not specify that these cases of infection in humans actually date from 2017 and 2018. In this case, the risks of an outbreak of canine corona virus from this source are further reduced because it there is no evidence of further spread over the intervening three to four years.
Continue to monitor new corona viruses
This is a time when there is talk of corona virus everywhere and all kinds of viruses related to it are discovered and in such a situation it is not excluded to get more positive samples from unexpected places. , but most of them will be limited to study and investigation only and there is no need to worry about that. However, it is important that surveillance for new coronaviruses continues and is extended so that if a new type of virus emerges in the future, we have every possible chance of detecting it.
Author Sarah L. Cady, Clinical Research Fellow in Viral Immunology and Veterinary Surgeon, University of Cambridge