PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Does the dangerous new Middle East coronavirus have an African origin?

Researchers discover a close relative in South African bats

2013-07-24
(Press-News.org) The MERS-coronavirus is regarded as a dangerous novel pathogen: Almost 50 people have died from infection with the virus since it was first discovered in 2012. To date all cases are connected with the Arabian peninsula. Scientists from the University Bonn (Germany) and South Africa have now detected a virus in the faeces of a South African bat that is genetically more closely related to MERS-CoV than any other known virus. The scientists therefore believe that African bats may play a role in the evolution of MERS-CoV predecessor viruses. Their results have just been published online in the journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases".

Infection with the novel "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus" or MERS-CoV has been diagnosed in 90 patients so far, half of whom have died. In severe cases, patients develop pneumonia and acute kidney failure. All cases so far are – sometimes indirectly through infected family members or close contacts – connected with the Arabian peninsula.

A collaboration of researchers from the Institute of Virology at the University Bonn, Germany, the University of Stellenbosch and several other South African institutions have recently found evidence that MERS-CoV could possibly originate from bats occurring in southern Africa. The South African scientists, headed by Prof. Wolfgang Preiser, tested faecal material from a total of 62 bats from 13 different species for coronaviruses. In collaboration with their colleagues in Bonn, headed by Dr. Jan Felix Drexler, they investigated the genetic material of the viruses that they found.

In a faecal sample from a bat of the species Neoromicia cf. zuluensis they found a virus that is genetically more closely related to MERS-CoV than any other known virus. They believe that MERS-CoV may originally come from bats and may have reached the human population via other animals acting as intermediate hosts.

Search for MERS-CoV progenitor should include Africa

This finding was made in one individual bat only, but nevertheless serves as an important pointer. When searching for the origin of MERS-CoV, Africa should be taken into account, in addition to the Arabian peninsula. This work is as important as searching for treatment, because once the origin and modes of spread are known, the risk for human beings can be minimised. An example for the spread of MERS-CoV could be Rift Valley fever that, coming from East Africa, caused outbreaks in Saudi Arabia and Yemen in 2000.

Further studies of bats and potential interim hosts are urgently needed to elucidate the origin of MERS-CoV. Finding a closely related virus in a bat does not mean that human beings can become infected directly through exposure to the bats. It should not be misunderstood as indicating a health risk from bats and does by no means justify their persecution; on the contrary, bats provide value to ecosystems in several respects and should enjoy strict protection. It is however likely that bats are the natural hosts for the virus, and that human infections are the result of contact with other animals such as camels acting as intermediate hosts. At this stage there is probably also direct human-to-human transmission.



INFORMATION:

Publication: Close Relative of Human Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in South African Bat, Journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases", DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1910.130946

Contact:

Dr. Jan Felix Drexler
Institute for Virology
Bonn University Hospital
Tel. +49 228 28711697
E-Mail: drexler@virology-bonn.de

Prof. Wolfgang Preiser
Division of Medical Virology
University of Stellenbosch / NHLS Tygerberg
Tel. +27 21 938 9353
E-Mail: preiser@sun.ac.za



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Nature: Watching molecule movements in live cells

2013-07-24
This news release is available in German. The newly developed STED-RICS microscopy method records rapid movements of molecules in live samples. By combining raster image correlation spectroscopy (RICS) with STED fluorescence microscopy, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) opened up new applications in medical research, e.g. analyzing the dynamics of cell membranes at high protein concentrations. This method is now presented in Nature Communications (doi: 10.1038/ncomms3093). How do individual biomolecules move in live cells, tissues, or organisms? ...

How do babies learn to be wary of heights?

2013-07-24
Infants develop a fear of heights as a result of their experiences moving around their environments, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. Learning to avoid cliffs, ledges, and other precipitous hazards is essential to survival and yet human infants don't show an early wariness of heights. As soon as human babies begin to crawl and scoot, they enter a phase during which they'll go over the edge of a bed, a changing table, or even the top of a staircase. In fact, research shows that when ...

Are Christians becoming more 'green'?

2013-07-24
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Despite the wide-held perception that Christians have become more concerned about the environment, new research finds this so-called "greening of Christianity" is not evident among the religious rank-and-file. According to the Michigan State University-led study, Christians report lower levels of environmental concern than non-Christians and non-religious individuals. More than 75 percent of Americans are affiliated with a Christian denomination. "The results suggest this presumed greening of Christianity has not yet translated into a significant ...

Novel gene target shows promise for bladder cancer detection and treatment

2013-07-24
Scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center have provided evidence from preclinical experiments that a gene known as melanoma differentiation associated gene-9/syntenin (mda-9/syntenin) could be used as a therapeutic target to kill bladder cancer cells, help prevent metastasis and even be used to non-invasively diagnose the disease and monitor its progression. The study, published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, was a collaborative effort between Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., who originally discovered the mda-9/syntenin gene, and Santanu ...

New NIST nanoscale indenter takes novel approach to measuring surface properties

2013-07-24
Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of North Carolina have demonstrated a new design for an instrument, a "instrumented nanoscale indenter," that makes sensitive measurements of the mechanical properties of thin films -- ranging from auto body coatings to microelectronic devices -- and biomaterials. The NIST instrument uses a unique technique for precisely measuring the depth of the indentation in a test surface with no contact of the surface other than the probe tip itself.* Nanoindenter head Indenters have a ...

Fidaxomicin: Data subsequently submitted by manufacturer prove added benefit

2013-07-24
In the commenting procedure on early benefit assessment pursuant to the German Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products (AMNOG), under certain circumstances drug manufacturers may submit to the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) additional documents for dossiers. The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) has now assessed such additional information for two studies comparing the antibiotic fidaxomicin, which is used for diarrhoea caused by Clostridium difficile infections, with vancomycin. In contrast to the first dossier assessment, the ...

A magnetic pen for smartphones adds another level of conveniences

2013-07-24
Daejeon, Republic of Korea, July 24, 2013 – A doctoral candidate at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) developed a magnetically driven pen interface that works both on and around mobile devices. This interface, called the MagPen, can be used for any type of smartphones and tablet computers so long as they have magnetometers embedded in. Advised by Professor Kwang-yun Wohn of the Graduate School of Culture Technology (GSCT) at KAIST, Sungjae Hwang, a Ph.D. student, created the MagPen in collaboration with Myung-Wook Ahn, a master's student ...

Solar system's youth gives clues to planet search

2013-07-24
Washington, D.C.—Comets and meteorites contain clues to our solar system's earliest days. But some of the findings are puzzle pieces that don't seem to fit well together. A new set of theoretical models from Carnegie's Alan Boss shows how an outburst event in the Sun's formative years could explain some of this disparate evidence. His work could have implications for the hunt for habitable planets outside of our solar system. It is published by The Astrophysical Journal. One way to study the solar system's formative period is to look for samples of small crystalline particles ...

An evolutionary compromise for long tooth preservation

2013-07-24
This news release is available in German. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, have conducted stress analyses on gorilla teeth of differing wear stages. Their findings show that different features of the occlusal surface antagonize tensile stresses in the tooth to tooth contact during the chewing process. They further show that tooth wear with its loss of dental tissue and the reduction of the occlusal relief decreases tensile stresses in the ...

New study reveals dangers to biological diversity from global cashmere garment industry

2013-07-24
A new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and Snow Leopard Trust reveals a disturbing link between the cashmere trade and the decay of ecosystems that support some of the planet's most spectacular yet little-known large mammals. The study finds that as pastoralists expand goat herds to increase profits for the cashmere trade in Western markets, wildlife icons from the Tibetan Plateau to Mongolia suffer – including endangered snow leopard, wild yak, chiru, saiga, Bactrian camel, gazelles, and other remarkable but already endangered species of remote Central Asia. ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] Does the dangerous new Middle East coronavirus have an African origin?
Researchers discover a close relative in South African bats