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New SARS-like coronavirus discovered in Chinese horseshoe bats
Date:10/30/2013

rking to help find alternative measures to decrease the hunting of bats for food and sport as well as monitoring the global wildlife trade. Bats are vitally important to the health of ecosystems providing seed dispersal and pollination services while also controlling insect populations and agricultural pests.

EcoHealth Alliance's contribution to the USAID-funded PREDICT program targets pathogen discovery in high-risk wildlife species in emerging disease global hotspots. This is a completely new approach for pandemic diseases most of which originate in wildlife in this case EcoHealth Alliance scientists are identifying the wildlife host and cataloging both known and previously unknown viruses before spillover events could infect people.

The results published in Nature, are based on genetic analyses of samples taken over the course of a year from members of a horseshoe bat colony in Kunming, China. At least seven different strains of SARS-like CoVs were found to be circulating within the single group of bats. The findings highlight the importance of research programs targeting high-risk wildlife groups in emerging disease hotspots to predict, prepare for, and prevent pandemics.

PREDICT is part of USAID's Emerging Pandemic Threats (EPT) program, designed to target surveillance of wildlife populations and identify potential pandemic viruses before they emerge. "This work validates our assumption that we should be searching for viruses of pandemic potential before they spillover to humans. That USAID has designed and implemented such an innovative approach through their EPT program is very forward thinking. We may finally begin to get ahead of the curve and prevent pandemics," said University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, One Health Institute Director, Professor Jonna Mazet, Co-Director of PREDICT.

"The paradigm setting study provides the most compelling information to date that zoonotic coronaviruse
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Contact: Anthony M. Ramos
ramos@ecohealthalliance.org
212-380-4469
EcoHealth Alliance
Source:Eurekalert  

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