How did the coronavirus jump from bats to humans? Snakes, pangolins and turtles top suspect list

sl white bellied pangolin male juvenile c sangha pangolin project wide
Credit: Sangha Pangolin Project

When a new zoonotic outbreak occurs, scientists rush to trace the species the infection originated from. Often the infection jumps from its initial animal carrier to an intermediate host species, which then transmits the virus to humans. Identifying intermediate host species enable risk-mitigating public health policies to be implemented and gives researchers a better understanding of the disease evolution and pathogenesis.

The going hypothesis is that the current outbreak started in bats, then moved to another species. While many of the earliest cases in Wuhan were linked to the Huanan Seafood market—which sold seafood and wildlife, including snakes and birds—not every case has a link to it. The wide variety of animal produce available at the market, and structural similarities of ACE2 receptors in many “suspect species” means scientists are still not confident about the transmission chain of SARS-CoV-2.

Related article:  Smoking pot while pregnant increases health risks, including depression and drug abuse, for offspring

ADVERTISEMENT

The authors propose—based on structural similarities between the viral RBD and host ACE2—that pangolins, snakes, and turtles could be possible intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2.

The authors note that further research is needed to confirm these findings, while other experts have discredited the idea put forth by a different group of researchers in January that snakes are SARS-CoV-2 hosts.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.

We Noticed You Have An Ad Blocker On.

Can you help fund the GLP? We're a nonprofit, so it's tax-deductible.

glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend