Lethal pig virus could jump to humans

The disease shows similarities to the deadly viruses responsible for Sars and Mers

Laboratory tests at Ohio State University show that the disease, known as porcine deltacoronavirus, "readily jumps between the cells of different species including humans", The Daily Telegraph reports.

This also may have been the case with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002 through 2003 which began in China and was ultimately linked with more than 8000 cases and 774 deaths in 37 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"We are very anxious about the emerging coronaviruses and we are anxious that they will cause harm to animals and they may jump into humans", said senior author Linda Saif, a distinguished professor of veterinary medicine at Ohio State University and an investigator at Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

Concerns related to PDCoV were first raised in the United States in the year 2014 when a diarrhea outbreak was detected in OH pigs and since then, the PDCoV has been identified in many other countries. It was first detected in the United States in 2014 during a diarrhea outbreak in OH pigs and has since been detected in various countries. Since then, the virus has appeared in pigs in various countries.

Porcine deltacoronavirus, first detected in China in 2012, causes severe diarrhoea and vomiting in infected pigs and is known to be fatal to the animals.

A multifunctional enzyme called aminopeptidase N locked on the receptor allows the virus to enter its host.

What they found was that porcine deltacoronavirus was able to bind to the receptors not only in humans, but cats and chickens as well.

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Lead researcher Dr Scott Kenney, from Ohio State University's Food Animal Health Research Programme, said: 'A receptor is like a lock in the door.

"If the virus can pick the lock, it can get into the cell and potentially infect the host", he said.

"From that point, it's just a matter of whether it can replicate within the cells and cause disease in those animals and humans", Kenney said.

Prof Saif said: "This doesn't prove that this virus can infect and cause disease in these other species, but that's something we obviously want to know". Still, investigators are concerned about the possibility of transmission, and it was this concern that prompted the Ohio State and Utrecht University investigators to perform their study. Here are some of the most recent epidemics.

While there are now no known cases of porcine deltacoronavirus in humans, experts say the finding is alarming, as scientists do not know how to control it.

The Mers virus is believed to have passed to humans from camels. Likewise, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak that remains ongoing has already led to 2206 laboratory-confirmed cases and 787 associated deaths, according to WHO.

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