From China’s famed wet markets, an international team of scientists has found 18 mammalian viruses that pose a significant danger to people and domestic animals.
Wuhan’s wet market
A seafood market in Wuhan has been connected to the roots of the continuing Covid-19 epidemic, which has so far resulted in 253.6 million instances of illness and 5.11 million fatalities.
The initial cases of SARS-CoV-2, according to China, were likely caused by animal-to-human transmission at a wet market in Wuhan.
The creatures in the game
Researchers from China, the United States, Belgium, and Australia claimed to have discovered game animals that are regularly hunted or consumed as exotic cuisine in China and might be possible SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in the study.
16 species and five mammalian groupings are included
The researchers also looked at a lot of species for the first time, including several that have been prohibited by the Chinese government for commerce or artificial breeding since the Covid-19 outbreak began.
They looked at 1,725 game animals from all throughout China, covering 16 species and five mammalian groups.
“We discovered 71 mammalian viruses, 45 of which were previously unknown. There were eighteen viruses identified as posing a high danger to people and domestic animals “corresponding author Shuo Su of Nanjing Agricultural University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in China remarked.
It has not yet been subjected to peer review.
Notably, the researchers found no SARS-CoV-2-like or SARS-CoV-like sequences in any of the animals studied, including Malayan pangolins, from which SARS-CoV-2-like viruses have previously been identified, according to Su in a study published on the preprint server biorxiv, which means it has not yet been peer-reviewed.
Clarification for pangolin’s disappearance
One reason for the absence of pangolin SARS-like viruses, according to experts, is that earlier virus-positive samples were all confiscated by customs authorities in Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, both of which were known for their extensive animal smuggling networks.
The most recent samples
The latest samples, on the other hand, were from Zhejiang Province in eastern China, which does not have an international border that would allow smuggling, according to the researchers.
Civets (Paguma larvata) had the largest number of high-risk viruses, according to the researchers. Coronavirus has been identified as a possible reservoir in cat-like predators.
Bats to hedgehogs, birds to porcupines are just some of the animals that have transitioned.
They also discovered bat coronavirus HKU8 transmission from a bat to a civet, as well as coronavirus cross-species leaps from bats to hedgehogs, and birds to porcupines.
Similarly, the avian influenza virus H9N2 has been found in civets and Asian badgers, with the latter showing respiratory symptoms and reports of possible human-to-wildlife viral transmission.
“These findings emphasise the relevance of game animals as possible disease drivers,” the researchers said.