Recently, a group of researchers have reported that they have found dozens of unknown viruses in wild animals that are often eaten in China .
The various species subject to analysis in the study include civets, raccoon dogs, badgers and porcupines.
The international group of scientists recently published a study in the journal Cell in which they announced that they had located dozens of unknown viruses (many of them potentially dangerous to humans) in wild animals that are traditionally consumed as delicacies in several Asian countries.
This despite the fact that it is known that live animal markets have caused viral outbreaks, such is the case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that occurred 2 decades ago.
Similarly, it is speculated that the current covid-19 could have been transmitted to humans through infected bats eaten in China.
William Hanage , an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University (USA) , points out:
“Humans must understand that for a virus, different species of mammals can look quite similar, as long as their cells have the appropriate receptors.”
The team of researchers, led by veterinarian Su Shuo , from the Nanjing Agricultural University (China) , decided to take samples of approximately 2,000 animals of 18 different species, most of which are considered delicacies in China.
These species include civets, dogs, raccoons, badgers, and porcupines.
The experts then analyzed the samples for RNA transcripts that the viruses produce when they replicate themselves, and were able to identify 102 virus species from 13 different viral families in the nose, feces and tissues of the animals.
In this regard, they mention:
“Most alarming of the results is that 65 of the viruses have never been described before and at least 21 are categorized as high risk for humans, either because they have infected people in the past or because they have a history of jumping easily. between animal species.
Despite the fact that none of the viruses found are closely related to the coronavirus that triggered the covid-19 pandemic, the results of the study represent a clear warning that other viral threats exist in the animal kingdom.
“Our results provide important information about those animals (…) and their viruses that could lead to the next pandemic.”
Although China has taken drastic measures against the sale of the animals analyzed in the studysince the beginning of the pandemic, other countries in the region have not yet taken action in this regard.
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