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New coronavirus related to viruses from bats
Date:11/19/2012

named London hospital is interesting, says Fouchier, since they are similar enough to be the same species but different enough that they are probably not directly linked. "It is unlikely they would be infected from the same source. We really need to understand whether these viruses are coming from a single source or multiple sources" before more cases come to light, he says.

In addition to the insights it provides for identifying the source of the virus and linking cases of illness together, the genome sequence of the HCoV-EMC/2012 virus will also enable scientists to study the virus in more detail. By making synthetic copies of the virus genome, Fouchier says scientists can reconstruct the virus in the lab and study its properties to identify the sources of its virulence.

The genome sequence could also be pivotal to protecting public health. "A well-annotated genome sequence is crucial to further the development of diagnostic methods and antivirals and vaccines that might be needed," says Fouchier. Considering that three cases of disease from the virus have already been identified, he says, "we certainly need the diagnostics already."

"Whether we would need antivirals and vaccines? Well, I certainly hope not," says Fouchier.


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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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