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Researchers report a zoonotic spread of SARS-CoV-2 adapted from mink to humans

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Now available in recent reports bioRxiv* Preprint server, Polish and Finnish researchers Spillover event Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) adapted to mink, transmitted from cultured mink to humans after extensive adaptation process.

Research: SARS-CoV-2 zoonotic disease: mink-adaptive virus in humans. Image Credits: Inspiration / Shutterstock

Even before the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), coronavirus was already known as a zoonotic pathogen. SARS-CoV-2 is actually the third most pathogenic member of the family to emerge.st Century (after SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV virus).

Also, mass vaccination against COVID-19 is currently underway at the global level, but it is not yet known how this pandemic (and its causative virus) will end. In other words, the highly advertised concepts of herd immunity and virus eradication are considered increasingly unrealistic, taking into account prevalence, genetic diversity, and endemic animal depots. I will.

It has been reported that various mammalian species around the world carry SARS-CoV-2. Especially dogs, cats, cats, minks, ferrets and deer. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 infection was recently identified in farmed mink in European countries.

More specifically, infected mink-to-human viral transmission cycles have been reported in the Netherlands and Denmark. These findings are of particular importance to Poland, Europe’s second largest producer of mink fur.

This is a Polish and Finnish researcher led by Dr. Lukasz Rabalski of the Department of Inter-University Biotechnology at the University of Gdansk and the University of Gdansk Medical School in Poland to evaluate whether there is a ripple effect of SARS-CoV-2 from farming. That’s why I aimed. Mink to humans.

From prevalence assessment to detailed sequence

This research group (along with other independent groups) recently showed active SARS-CoV-2 infection in farmed mink in northern Poland in mid-November 2020. Discarded the possibility of contamination.

The latest data obtained and deposited by the National Institute of Veterinary Medicine in Poland showed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 mutants from animals on the same farm.However, after that Phylogenetic analysis The virus has been shown to belong to the B.1.1.279 strain (scale armor classification), which was not surprising given its spread in Europe.

In this study, SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing was performed at the University of Gdansk, Poland, using sample-containing RNA isolated from positive swabs (ie, two target genes by reverse transcription polymerase chain). amplification). reaction).

The resulting reads were base-called, bar-coded, and trimmed to remove adapter, barcode, and primer sequences, and specific ARCTIC pipeline software was used to generate the SARS-CoV-2 genome. It was.Finally, phylogenetic analysis was performed using a procedure highlighted in an open source project known as Nextstrain.org..

Close clustering and mutations

In the current study, cases of infection with mink-adapted SARS-CoV-2 mutants were reported in asymptomatic human hosts. Phylogenetic analysis showed that this particular virus clustered closely with virus isolates from mink.

In addition, researchers have discovered that there are four mutations in the gene. Spike protein Not only (including the Y453F mutation previously reported to have appeared in mink), but also other mutations in isolates obtained from SARS-CoV-2 positive patients.

We tested the hypothesis that mutations specific to mink-adapted mutants are present in the viral genome sequence and that the potential pathways for contraction are from animals. There were also new mutations previously unobserved in SARS-CoV-2 isolates worldwide. This actually truncates the open reading frame (ORF) 7b at position L22.

Epidemiological consideration

The new mutants described in this study underscore the adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to animal hosts, with specific point mutations being modified early in the inter-animal infection cycle and additional. Changes accumulate over time.

The exact role of mutations should be determined, but they may increase the fitness of new hosts, “says the study’s authors. “It remains unclear whether these characteristics alter the infectious course of the disease or the immunogenicity of humans.”

In any case, this variant requires careful monitoring of the general public. These results basically confirm the need for national animal monitoring and in-depth genetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 positive patients.

*Important Notices

bioRxiv publishes unpeer-reviewed preliminary scientific reports and should not be considered definitive, guide clinical / health-related behaviors, or be treated as established information.

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