Virus Variants Can Infect Mice, Scientists Report

Bats, humans, monkeys, minks, big cats and big apes – coronoviruses can house many different animals. But now the list of potential hosts has been expanded to include mice according to a prospect New study.

Infected rodents pose no immediate risk to people even in cities such as London and New York, where they are ubiquitous and unwanted habitats of subway stations, basements, and backyards.

Nevertheless, the finding is worrisome. As with previous work, it suggests that the new mutations are giving the virus the ability to replicate across a wider array of animal species, experts said.

“The virus is changing, and unfortunately it is changing very rapidly,” Timothy Sheehan, a virologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was not involved in the new study.

In the study, researchers introduced the virus into the nasal passages of laboratory mice. The researchers found that the form of the virus, previously identified in Wuhan, China, could neither infect laboratory mice nor B.1.1.7, which is spreading throughout Europe.

But B.1.351 and P1, variants discovered in South Africa and Brazil, may replicate in rodents, a veterinarian and mouse geneticist of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, Dr. Said Xavier Montagutelli, who led the study. The research was done online earlier this month, not yet reviewed for publication in a scientific journal.

The results only indicate that infection is possible in mice, Drs. Montagutelli said. Mice caught in the wild have not been found to be infected with coronaviruses, and so far, the virus does not appear to be capable of jumping from humans to mice, from mice to humans, or from mice to mice.

“Our results emphasize that it is necessary to regularly assess the range of species that can infect the virus, especially with the emergence of new variants,” Dr. Montagutelli said.

The coronavirus is thought to have emerged from bats, perhaps acting as an intermediate host as another animal, and scientists worry that the virus may return to what it describes as an animal “reservoir”. .

In addition to potentially devastating those animal populations, a coronovirus that spreads to another species can then acquire dangerous mutations, returning to humans in a form not designed to harbor current vaccines.

Are mink Animals only Known for being able to capture coronavirus from humans and pass it back. In early November, Denmark pulled 17 million farm minks to protect against the virus Develop into dangerous new variants In animals.

Recently, researchers found that B.1.1.7 infection in pet cats and dogs can cause pets Development of heart problems Similar to the Kovid-19 ones.

To establish a successful infection, coronaviruses must bind to a protein on the surface of animal cells, enter cells, and exploit their machinery to make copies of themselves. The virus should also avoid early attempts at the immune system to thwart the infection.

Given all those requirements, it is “quite extraordinary” that coronoviruses can infect many species, said Vincent Munster, a virologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Generally, viruses have a more dry host range.”

Mice are a known reservoir for hentavirus, which causes a rare and fatal disease in people. Although coronovirus variants do not seem capable of jumping from mice to people, they still have the ability to spread among rodents, develop into new variants, and infect people again, Drs. Munster said.

Variants can also be threatened like endangered species Black legged ferrets. “This virus seems to be able to surprise us more than anything else or any other previous virus,” Dr. Munster said. “We have to be careful.”

Dr. Sheehan said that he was more concerned about the transmission of people from farm animals and pets than mice.

“You’re not catching and trafficking wild rats in your house – all getting up on their faces and sharing the same airspace, like maybe with your cat or your dog,” he said. “I’m more concerned about wild or domestic animals with whom we have more intimate relationships.”

But he and other experts said the results emphasized the need to closely monitor rapid changes in the virus.

“It’s like targeting – it’s crazy,” he said. “There’s nothing we can do about it except try and get people vaccinated really fast.”

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