Close Relative of Human Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in Bat, South Africa

See on Scoop.itVirology and Bioinformatics from

The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002–03 and the subsequent implication of bats as reservoir hosts of the causative agent, a coronavirus (CoV), prompted numerous studies of bats and the viruses they harbor. A novel clade 2c betacoronavirus, termed Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)–CoV, was recently identified as the causative agent of a severe respiratory disease that is mainly affecting humans on the Arabian Peninsula (1). Extending on previous work (2), we described European Pipistrellus bat–derived CoVs that are closely related to MERS-CoV (3). We now report the identification of a South Africa bat derived CoV that has an even closer phylogenetic relationship with MERS-CoV.


Coronavirus graphic courtesy of Russell Kightley Media

Ed Rybicki‘s insight:

This is interesting and timely work – for which notice, thanks Stephen Korsman! – out of various labs in South Africa and elsewhere.

This almost certainly means that, as with paramyxoviruses in bats, there are a LOT of CoVs out there with the potential to infect other mammals – including humans.

Of course, this one should be the REAL SARSCoV – for "South African respiratory syndrome virus.  Which would make all teh jokes about the SA Revenue Services even more pointed.

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