A new type of coronavirus has been detected in the pneumonia patients in Malaysia, which is believed to be originated from dogs termed as Canine coronavirus. This new coronavirus was found in Malaysian patients of pneumonia hospitalized in 2017-18.
If the discovered Canine coronavirus is recognized to be a pathogen, it will be become the eighth unique coronavirus know to infect humans.
The study was published in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal on Thursday. Researchers did tests in the sample of swab tests taken from 301 patients hospitalized for pneumonia in Sarawak, Malaysia. Out of these samples, 8 samples that mainly belong to kids below the age of 5, were found positive for Canine coronavirus.
Prof. Gregory Gray at Duke University’s Global Health Institute, who led the research informed that the genetic makeup of the virus makes it unlikely to transmit from human to human. Gray told AFP, “What we’re advocating for… is more application of pan-species diagnostics to look for five different viral families we think are the most problematic in causing epidemics in humans.”
This research was also confirmed by Anastasia Vlasova, a virologist at Ohio State University when she was contacted by Gray after the surprising results. As a result, Vlaosva also managed to grow more virus to study them herself. Gray and Vlasova determined that the canine virus, named CCoV-HuPn-2018, has mainly originated from dogs, but also share feline and swine components.
The research also discovered that this virus, just like SARS-CoV-2, showed mutations which consistently adapts to transmission among humans. However, it is not known how long it takes to evolve. The reports say, “It also contained a genetic deletion, or mutation, that was not found in any known canine coronaviruses but was present in human strains such as SARS-COV and SARS-COV-2, the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Besides, there are still some questions that need to be answered which require further researches. The authors of the paper found animal to human transmission, but also clarified that it needs more research to determine human to human transmission. In addition, the researchers told that its not known if the canine coronavirus could make people really sick as it could be merely carried in patient’s airways without causing any disease.