Madrid Updated:26/03/2020 11:17h
Chinese researchers have detected in a small number of pangolins that were smuggled into China coronaviruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2, according to an article published this morning in the journal “Nature”. This degree of similarity is not sufficient to say that these animals are transmitters of the Covid-19, a pandemic that has already come to a thirty of countries around the world, with almost 80,000 people infected and more than 2,600 dead. However, according to the authors, the findings suggest that pangolins are a second mammalian host of coronaviruses and their sale in the markets of wildlife must be strictly forbiddingto minimize the risk of future transmission of virus to humans.
Scientists believe that bats may be the reservoir likely of SARS-CoV-2, but the identity of the host animals intermediate that could have facilitated the transfer of this virus to humans remains unknown. A market of products of the sea are linked to the first cases of the recent outbreak of respiratory disease was eliminated shortly after it began to be the case, what prevented the search of the animal species that is the source of the coronavirus. A possible host are the pangolins, which are trafficked regularly in Asia and used both as food and in traditional medicine.
Yi Guan, the University of Hong Kong, and his colleagues analyzed samples taken from 18 pangolins from Malaysia that were obtained for operations against smuggling in the south of China between August 2017 and January 2018. Detected coronavirus related to SARS-CoV-2 in five of these animals. In addition, they detected the coronavirus similar in three of the twelve additional copies seized in a second province in 2018, and in an additional animal of a third province of which it was collected a sample in 2019. The viruses isolated from these samples have a sequence similarity of approximately 85 to 92% to the SARS-CoV-2, and a virus shows a great similarity in the sequence of the receptor-binding domain, a region that encodes the ‘peak’ of the virus that facilitates entry into host cells.
Pangolins are the only mammals other than bats reported to date that have been found infected with a coronavirus related to SARS-CoV-2. These findings highlight a potentially important role for pangolins in the ecology of coronaviruses, but not directly involving pangolins in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to humans. The authors propose that the management of these animals requires caution and suggest that you need a greater control of pangolins in order to understand its role in the emergence of coronaviruses, with the potential to infect humans.
Translated from ABC News https://www.abc.es/ciencia/abci-descubren-pangolines-introducidos-contrabando-china-coronavirus-similares-covid-19-202003261100_noticia.html