ResearchPad - coronaviruses Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Are pangolins the intermediate host of the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?]]> Recently, a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, caused a still ongoing pandemic. Epidemiological study suggested this virus was associated with a wet market in Wuhan, China. However, the exact source of this virus is still unknown. In this study, we attempted to assemble the complete genome of a coronavirus identified from two groups of sick Malayan pangolins, which were likely to be smuggled for black market trade. The molecular and evolutionary analyses showed that this pangolin coronavirus we assembled was genetically associated with the SARS-CoV-2 but was not likely its precursor. This study suggested that pangolins are natural hosts of coronaviruses. Determining the spectrum of coronaviruses in pangolins can help understand the natural history of coronaviruses in wildlife and at the animal-human interface, and facilitate the prevention and control of coronavirus-associated emerging diseases.

<![CDATA[Virus detections among patients with severe acute respiratory illness, Northern Vietnam]]> Severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) is a major cause of death and morbidity in low- and middle-income countries, however, the etiologic agents are often undetermined due to the lack of molecular diagnostics in hospitals and clinics. To examine evidence for select viral infections among patients with SARI in northern Vietnam, we studied 348 nasopharyngeal samples from military and civilian patients admitted to 4 hospitals in the greater Hanoi area from 2017–2019. Initial screening for human respiratory viral pathogens was performed in Hanoi, Vietnam at the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) or the Military Institute of Preventative Medicine (MIPM), and an aliquot was shipped to Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore for validation. Patient demographics were recorded and used to epidemiologically describe the infections. Among military and civilian cases of SARI, 184 (52.9%) tested positive for one or more respiratory viruses. Influenza A virus was the most prevalent virus detected (64.7%), followed by influenza B virus (29.3%), enterovirus (3.8%), adenovirus (1.1%), and coronavirus (1.1%). Risk factor analyses demonstrated an increased risk of influenza A virus detection among military hospital patients (adjusted OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2–3.2), and an increased risk of influenza B virus detection among patients enrolled in year 2017 (adjusted OR, 7.9; 95% CI, 2.7–22.9). As influenza A and B viruses were commonly associated with SARI and are treatable, SARI patients entering these hospitals would benefit if the hospitals were able to adapt onsite molecular diagnostics.

<![CDATA[Time-to-Death approach in revealing Chronicity and Severity of COVID-19 across the World]]> The outbreak of coronavirus disease, 2019 (COVID-19), which started from Wuhan, China, in late 2019, have spread worldwide. A total of 5,91,971 cases and 2,70,90 deaths were registered till 28th March, 2020. We aimed to predict the impact of duration of exposure to COVID-19 on the mortality rates increment.MethodsIn the present study, data on COVID-19 infected top seven countries viz., Germany, China, France, United Kingdom, Iran, Italy and Spain, and World as a whole, were used for modeling. The analytical procedure of generalized linear model followed by Gompertz link function was used to predict the impact lethal duration of exposure on the mortality rates.FindingsOf the selected countries and World as whole, the projection based on 21st March, 2020 cases, suggest that a total (95% Cl) of 76 (65–151) days of exposure in Germany, mortality rate will increase by 5 times to 1%. In countries like France and United Kingdom, our projection suggests that additional exposure of 48 days and 7 days, respectively, will raise the mortality rates to10%. Regarding Iran, Italy and Spain, mortality rate will rise to 10% with an additional 3–10 days of exposure. World’s mortality rates will continue increase by 1% in every three weeks. The predicted interval of lethal duration corresponding to each country has found to be consistent with the mortality rates observed on 28th March, 2020.ConclusionThe prediction of lethal duration was found to have apparently effective in predicting mortality, and shows concordance with prevailing rates. In absence of any vaccine against COVID-19 infection, the present study adds information about the quantum of the severity and time elapsed to death will help the Government to take necessary and appropriate steps to control this pandemic. ]]> <![CDATA[The tetraspanin CD9 facilitates MERS-coronavirus entry by scaffolding host cell receptors and proteases]]>

Infection by enveloped coronaviruses (CoVs) initiates with viral spike (S) proteins binding to cellular receptors, and is followed by proteolytic cleavage of receptor-bound S proteins, which prompts S protein-mediated virus-cell membrane fusion. Infection therefore requires close proximity of receptors and proteases. We considered whether tetraspanins, scaffolding proteins known to facilitate CoV infections, hold receptors and proteases together on cell membranes. Using knockout cell lines, we found that the tetraspanin CD9, but not the tetraspanin CD81, formed cell-surface complexes of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), the MERS-CoV receptor, and the type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) member TMPRSS2, a CoV-activating protease. This CD9-facilitated condensation of receptors and proteases allowed MERS-CoV pseudoviruses to enter cells rapidly and efficiently. Without CD9, MERS-CoV viruses were not activated by TTSPs, and they trafficked into endosomes to be cleaved much later and less efficiently by cathepsins. Thus, we identified DPP4:CD9:TTSP as the protein complexes necessary for early, efficient MERS-CoV entry. To evaluate the importance of these complexes in an in vivo CoV infection model, we used recombinant Adenovirus 5 (rAd5) vectors to express human DPP4 in mouse lungs, thereby sensitizing the animals to MERS-CoV infection. When the rAd5-hDPP4 vectors co-expressed small RNAs silencing Cd9 or Tmprss2, the animals were significantly less susceptible, indicating that CD9 and TMPRSS2 facilitated robust in vivo MERS-CoV infection of mouse lungs. Furthermore, the S proteins of virulent mouse-adapted MERS-CoVs acquired a CD9-dependent cell entry character, suggesting that CD9 is a selective agent in the evolution of CoV virulence.

<![CDATA[The SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 expression of maternal-fetal interface and fetal organs by single-cell transcriptome study]]>

The new type of pneumonia caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) has been declared as a global public health concern by WHO. As of April 3, 2020, more than 1,000,000 human infections have been diagnosed around the world, which exhibited apparent person-to-person transmission characteristics of this virus. The capacity of vertical transmission in SARS-CoV-2 remains controversial recently. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is now confirmed as the receptor of SARS-CoV-2 and plays essential roles in human infection and transmission. In present study, we collected the online available single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data to evaluate the cell specific expression of ACE2 in maternal-fetal interface as well as in multiple fetal organs. Our results revealed that ACE2 was highly expressed in maternal-fetal interface cells including stromal cells and perivascular cells of decidua, and cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast in placenta. Meanwhile, ACE2 was also expressed in specific cell types of human fetal heart, liver and lung, but not in kidney. And in a study containing series fetal and post-natal mouse lung, we observed ACE2 was dynamically changed over the time, and ACE2 was extremely high in neonatal mice at post-natal day 1~3. In summary, this study revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 receptor was widely spread in specific cell types of maternal-fetal interface and fetal organs. And thus, both the vertical transmission and the placenta dysfunction/abortion caused by SARS-CoV-2 need to be further carefully investigated in clinical practice.

<![CDATA[Detection of novel coronaviruses in bats in Myanmar]]>

The recent emergence of bat-borne zoonotic viruses warrants vigilant surveillance in their natural hosts. Of particular concern is the family of coronaviruses, which includes the causative agents of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and most recently, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), an epidemic of acute respiratory illness originating from Wuhan, China in December 2019. Viral detection, discovery, and surveillance activities were undertaken in Myanmar to identify viruses in animals at high risk contact interfaces with people. Free-ranging bats were captured, and rectal and oral swabs and guano samples collected for coronaviral screening using broadly reactive consensus conventional polymerase chain reaction. Sequences from positives were compared to known coronaviruses. Three novel alphacoronaviruses, three novel betacoronaviruses, and one known alphacoronavirus previously identified in other southeast Asian countries were detected for the first time in bats in Myanmar. Ongoing land use change remains a prominent driver of zoonotic disease emergence in Myanmar, bringing humans into ever closer contact with wildlife, and justifying continued surveillance and vigilance at broad scales.

<![CDATA[Critically ill healthcare workers with the middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS): A multicenter study]]>


Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) leads to healthcare-associated transmission to patients and healthcare workers with potentially fatal outcomes.


We aimed to describe the clinical course and functional outcomes of critically ill healthcare workers (HCWs) with MERS.


Data on HCWs was extracted from a multi-center retrospective cohort study on 330 critically ill patients with MERS admitted between (9/2012–9/2015). Baseline demographics, interventions and outcomes were recorded and compared between survivors and non-survivors. Survivors were approached with questionnaires to elucidate their functional outcomes using Karnofsky Performance Status Scale.


Thirty-Two HCWs met the inclusion criteria. Comorbidities were recorded in 34% (11/32) HCW. Death resulted in 8/32 (25%) HCWs including all 5 HCWs with chronic renal impairment at baseline. Non-surviving HCW had lower PaO2/FiO2 ratios 63.5 (57, 116.2) vs 148 (84, 194.3), p = 0.043, and received more ECMO therapy compared to survivors, 9/32 (28%) vs 4/24 (16.7%) respectively (p = 0.02).Thirteen of the surviving (13/24) HCWs responded to the questionnaire. Two HCWs confirmed functional limitations. Median number of days from hospital discharge until the questionnaires were filled was 580 (95% CI 568, 723.5) days.


Approximately 10% of critically ill patients with MERS were HCWs. Hospital mortality rate was substantial (25%). Patients with chronic renal impairment represented a particularly high-risk group that should receive extra caution during suspected or confirmed MERS cases clinical care assignment and during outbreaks. Long-term repercussions of critical illness due to MERS on HCWs in particular, and patients in general, remain unknown and should be investigated in larger studies.

<![CDATA[The papain-like protease determines a virulence trait that varies among members of the SARS-coronavirus species]]>

SARS-coronavirus (CoV) is a zoonotic agent derived from rhinolophid bats, in which a plethora of SARS-related, conspecific viral lineages exist. Whereas the variability of virulence among reservoir-borne viruses is unknown, it is generally assumed that the emergence of epidemic viruses from animal reservoirs requires human adaptation. To understand the influence of a viral factor in relation to interspecies spillover, we studied the papain-like protease (PLP) of SARS-CoV. This key enzyme drives the early stages of infection as it cleaves the viral polyprotein, deubiquitinates viral and cellular proteins, and antagonizes the interferon (IFN) response. We identified a bat SARS-CoV PLP, which shared 86% amino acid identity with SARS-CoV PLP, and used reverse genetics to insert it into the SARS-CoV genome. The resulting virus replicated like SARS-CoV in Vero cells but was suppressed in IFN competent MA-104 (3.7-fold), Calu-3 (2.6-fold) and human airway epithelial cells (10.3-fold). Using ectopically-expressed PLP variants as well as full SARS-CoV infectious clones chimerized for PLP, we found that a protease-independent, anti-IFN function exists in SARS-CoV, but not in a SARS-related, bat-borne virus. This PLP-mediated anti-IFN difference was seen in primate, human as well as bat cells, thus independent of the host context. The results of this study revealed that coronavirus PLP confers a variable virulence trait among members of the species SARS-CoV, and that a SARS-CoV lineage with virulent PLPs may have pre-existed in the reservoir before onset of the epidemic.

<![CDATA[Cryo-EM structure of the SARS coronavirus spike glycoprotein in complex with its host cell receptor ACE2]]>

The trimeric SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) surface spike (S) glycoprotein consisting of three S1-S2 heterodimers binds the cellular receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and mediates fusion of the viral and cellular membranes through a pre- to postfusion conformation transition. Here, we report the structure of the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein in complex with its host cell receptor ACE2 revealed by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). The complex structure shows that only one receptor-binding domain of the trimeric S glycoprotein binds ACE2 and adopts a protruding “up” conformation. In addition, we studied the structures of the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein and its complexes with ACE2 in different in vitro conditions, which may mimic different conformational states of the S glycoprotein during virus entry. Disassociation of the S1-ACE2 complex from some of the prefusion spikes was observed and characterized. We also characterized the rosette-like structures of the clustered SARS-CoV S2 trimers in the postfusion state observed on electron micrographs. Structural comparisons suggested that the SARS-CoV S glycoprotein retains a prefusion architecture after trypsin cleavage into the S1 and S2 subunits and acidic pH treatment. However, binding to the receptor opens up the receptor-binding domain of S1, which could promote the release of the S1-ACE2 complex and S1 monomers from the prefusion spike and trigger the pre- to postfusion conformational transition.

<![CDATA[Spillover of Swine Coronaviruses, United States]]>

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, a pathogen first detected in US domestic swine in 2013, has rapidly spilled over into feral swine populations. A better understanding of the factors associated with pathogen emergence is needed to better manage, and ultimately prevent, future spillover events from domestic to nondomestic animals.

<![CDATA[Etiology of Influenza-Like Illnesses from Sentinel Network Practitioners in Réunion Island, 2011-2012]]>

In Réunion Island, despite an influenza surveillance established since 1996 by the sentinel general practitioner’s network, little is known about the etiology of Influenza like-illness (ILI) that differs from influenza viruses in a tropical area. We set up a retrospective study using nasal swabs collected by sentinel GPs from ILI patients in 2011 and 2012. A total of 250 swabs were randomly selected and analyzed by multiplex reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) including research of 18 viruses and 4 bacteria. We detected respiratory viruses in 169/222 (76.1%) samples, mostly rhinovirus (23.4%), influenza A virus (21.2%), influenza B virus (12.6%), coronavirus (4.9%) and Human metapneumovirus (3.6%). Nine swabs (5.3% of positive swabs) revealed co-infections with two viruses identified, among which six concerned co-infections with influenza viruses. We observed important seasonal differences, with circulation of Human Metapneumoviruses, RSV A and B and coronavirus only during summer; whereas parainfluenza viruses were identified only during winter. In conclusion, this study highlights a substantial circulation of multiple respiratory pathogens in Réunion Island throughout the year. It shows that ILI are not only attributable to influenza and underlines the need for biological surveillance. As the use of multiplex RT-PCR showed its efficacy, it is now used routinely in the surveillance of ILI.

<![CDATA[HTCC: Broad Range Inhibitor of Coronavirus Entry]]>

To date, six human coronaviruses have been known, all of which are associated with respiratory infections in humans. With the exception of the highly pathogenic SARS and MERS coronaviruses, human coronaviruses (HCoV-NL63, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-229E, and HCoV-HKU1) circulate worldwide and typically cause the common cold. In most cases, infection with these viruses does not lead to severe disease, although acute infections in infants, the elderly, and immunocompromised patients may progress to severe disease requiring hospitalization. Importantly, no drugs against human coronaviruses exist, and only supportive therapy is available. Previously, we proposed the cationically modified chitosan, N-(2-hydroxypropyl)-3-trimethylammonium chitosan chloride (HTCC), and its hydrophobically-modified derivative (HM-HTCC) as potent inhibitors of the coronavirus HCoV-NL63. Here, we show that HTCC inhibits interaction of a virus with its receptor and thus blocks the entry. Further, we demonstrate that HTCC polymers with different degrees of substitution act as effective inhibitors of all low-pathogenic human coronaviruses.

<![CDATA[Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus Accessory Protein 4a Inhibits PKR-Mediated Antiviral Stress Responses]]>

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe respiratory infections that can be life-threatening. To establish an infection and spread, MERS-CoV, like most other viruses, must navigate through an intricate network of antiviral host responses. Besides the well-known type I interferon (IFN-α/β) response, the protein kinase R (PKR)-mediated stress response is being recognized as an important innate response pathway. Upon detecting viral dsRNA, PKR phosphorylates eIF2α, leading to the inhibition of cellular and viral translation and the formation of stress granules (SGs), which are increasingly recognized as platforms for antiviral signaling pathways. It is unknown whether cellular infection by MERS-CoV activates the stress response pathway or whether the virus has evolved strategies to suppress this infection-limiting pathway. Here, we show that cellular infection with MERS-CoV does not lead to the formation of SGs. By transiently expressing the MERS-CoV accessory proteins individually, we identified a role of protein 4a (p4a) in preventing activation of the stress response pathway. Expression of MERS-CoV p4a impeded dsRNA-mediated PKR activation, thereby rescuing translation inhibition and preventing SG formation. In contrast, p4a failed to suppress stress response pathway activation that is independent of PKR and dsRNA. MERS-CoV p4a is a dsRNA binding protein. Mutation of the dsRNA binding motif in p4a disrupted its PKR antagonistic activity. By inserting p4a in a picornavirus lacking its natural PKR antagonist, we showed that p4a exerts PKR antagonistic activity also under infection conditions. However, a recombinant MERS-CoV deficient in p4a expression still suppressed SG formation, indicating the expression of at least one other stress response antagonist. This virus also suppressed the dsRNA-independent stress response pathway. Thus, MERS-CoV interferes with antiviral stress responses using at least two different mechanisms, with p4a suppressing the PKR-dependent stress response pathway, probably by sequestering dsRNA. MERS-CoV p4a represents the first coronavirus stress response antagonist described.

<![CDATA[High Prevalence and Putative Lineage Maintenance of Avian Coronaviruses in Scandinavian Waterfowl]]>

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are found in a wide variety of wild and domestic animals, and constitute a risk for zoonotic and emerging infectious disease. In poultry, the genetic diversity, evolution, distribution and taxonomy of some coronaviruses have been well described, but little is known about the features of CoVs in wild birds. In this study we screened 764 samples from 22 avian species of the orders Anseriformes and Charadriiformes in Sweden collected in 2006/2007 for CoV, with an overall CoV prevalence of 18.7%, which is higher than many other wild bird surveys. The highest prevalence was found in the diving ducks—mainly Greater Scaup (Aythya marila; 51.5%)—and the dabbling duck Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos; 19.2%). Sequences from two of the Greater Scaup CoV fell into an infrequently detected lineage, shared only with a Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) CoV. Coronavirus sequences from Mallards in this study were highly similar to CoV sequences from the sample species and location in 2011, suggesting long-term maintenance in this population. A single Black-headed Gull represented the only positive sample from the order Charadriiformes. Globally, Anas species represent the largest fraction of avian CoV sequences, and there seems to be no host species, geographical or temporal structure. To better understand the eitiology, epidemiology and ecology of these viruses more systematic surveillance of wild birds and subsequent sequencing of detected CoV is imperative.

<![CDATA[Enhanced inflammation in New Zealand white rabbits when MERS-CoV reinfection occurs in the absence of neutralizing antibody]]>

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic betacoronavirus that was first detected in humans in 2012 as a cause of severe acute respiratory disease. As of July 28, 2017, there have been 2,040 confirmed cases with 712 reported deaths. While many infections have been fatal, there have also been a large number of mild or asymptomatic cases discovered through monitoring and contact tracing. New Zealand white rabbits are a possible model for asymptomatic infection with MERS-CoV. In order to discover more about non-lethal infections and to learn whether a single infection with MERS-CoV would protect against reinfection, we inoculated rabbits with MERS-CoV and monitored the antibody and inflammatory response. Following intranasal infection, rabbits developed a transient dose-dependent pulmonary infection with moderately high levels of viral RNA, viral antigen, and perivascular inflammation in multiple lung lobes that was not associated with clinical signs. The rabbits developed antibodies against viral proteins that lacked neutralizing activity and the animals were not protected from reinfection. In fact, reinfection resulted in enhanced pulmonary inflammation, without an associated increase in viral RNA titers. Interestingly, passive transfer of serum from previously infected rabbits to naïve rabbits was associated with enhanced inflammation upon infection. We further found this inflammation was accompanied by increased recruitment of complement proteins compared to primary infection. However, reinfection elicited neutralizing antibodies that protected rabbits from subsequent viral challenge. Our data from the rabbit model suggests that people exposed to MERS-CoV who fail to develop a neutralizing antibody response, or persons whose neutralizing antibody titers have waned, may be at risk for severe lung disease on re-exposure to MERS-CoV.

<![CDATA[Comparative pathology of rhesus macaque and common marmoset animal models with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus]]>

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus (CoV), has recently emerged. It causes severe viral pneumonia and is associated with a high fatality rate. However, the pathogenesis, comparative pathology and inflammatory cell response of rhesus macaques and common marmosets experimentally infected with MERS-CoV are unknown. We describe the histopathological, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural findings from rhesus macaque and common marmoset animal models of MERS-CoV infection. The main histopathological findings in the lungs of rhesus macaques and common marmosets were varying degrees of pulmonary lesions, including pneumonia, pulmonary oedema, haemorrhage, degeneration and necrosis of the pneumocytes and bronchial epithelial cells, and inflammatory cell infiltration. The characteristic inflammatory cells in the lungs of rhesus macaques and common marmosets were eosinophils and neutrophils, respectively. Based on these observations, the lungs of rhesus macaques and common marmosets appeared to develop chronic and acute pneumonia, respectively. MERS-CoV antigens and viral RNA were identified in type I and II pneumocytes, alveolar macrophages and bronchial epithelial cells, and ultrastructural observations showed that viral protein was found in type II pneumocytes and inflammatory cells in both species. Correspondingly, the entry receptor DDP4 was found in type I and II pneumocytes, bronchial epithelial cells, and alveolar macrophages. The rhesus macaque and common marmoset animal models of MERS-CoV can be used as a tool to mimic the oncome of MERS-CoV infections in humans. These models can help to provide a better understanding of the pathogenic process of this virus and to develop effective medications and prophylactic treatments.

<![CDATA[The Role of Human Coronaviruses in Children Hospitalized for Acute Bronchiolitis, Acute Gastroenteritis, and Febrile Seizures: A 2-Year Prospective Study]]>

Human coronaviruses (HCoVs) are associated with a variety of clinical presentations in children, but their role in disease remains uncertain. The objective of our prospective study was to investigate HCoVs associations with various clinical presentations in hospitalized children up to 6 years of age. Children hospitalized with acute bronchiolitis (AB), acute gastroenteritis (AGE), or febrile seizures (FS), and children admitted for elective surgical procedures (healthy controls) were included in the study. In patients with AB, AGE, and FS, a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab and blood sample were obtained upon admission and the follow-up visit 14 days later, whereas in children with AGE a stool sample was also acquired upon admission; in healthy controls a NP swab and stool sample were taken upon admission. Amplification of polymerase 1b gene was used to detect HCoVs in the specimens. HCoVs-positive specimens were also examined for the presence of several other viruses. HCoVs were most often detected in children with FS (19/192, 9.9%, 95% CI: 6–15%), followed by children with AGE (19/218, 8.7%, 95% CI: 5.3–13.3%) and AB (20/308, 6.5%, 95% CI: 4.0–9.8%). The presence of other viruses was a common finding, most frequent in the group of children with AB (19/20, 95%, 95% CI: 75.1–99.8%), followed by FS (10/19, 52.6%, 95% CI: 28.9–75.6%) and AGE (7/19, 36.8%, 95% CI: 16.3–61.6%). In healthy control children HCoVs were detected in 3/156 (1.9%, 95% CI: 0.4–5.5%) NP swabs and 1/150 (0.7%, 95% CI: 0.02–3.3%) stool samples. It seems that an etiological role of HCoVs is most likely in children with FS, considering that they had a higher proportion of positive HCoVs results than patients with AB and those with AGE, and had the highest viral load; however, the co-detection of other viruses was 52.6%.

Trial Registration: NCT00987519

<![CDATA[Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus]]>

A large number of SARS-related coronaviruses (SARSr-CoV) have been detected in horseshoe bats since 2005 in different areas of China. However, these bat SARSr-CoVs show sequence differences from SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in different genes (S, ORF8, ORF3, etc) and are considered unlikely to represent the direct progenitor of SARS-CoV. Herein, we report the findings of our 5-year surveillance of SARSr-CoVs in a cave inhabited by multiple species of horseshoe bats in Yunnan Province, China. The full-length genomes of 11 newly discovered SARSr-CoV strains, together with our previous findings, reveals that the SARSr-CoVs circulating in this single location are highly diverse in the S gene, ORF3 and ORF8. Importantly, strains with high genetic similarity to SARS-CoV in the hypervariable N-terminal domain (NTD) and receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the S1 gene, the ORF3 and ORF8 region, respectively, were all discovered in this cave. In addition, we report the first discovery of bat SARSr-CoVs highly similar to human SARS-CoV in ORF3b and in the split ORF8a and 8b. Moreover, SARSr-CoV strains from this cave were more closely related to SARS-CoV in the non-structural protein genes ORF1a and 1b compared with those detected elsewhere. Recombination analysis shows evidence of frequent recombination events within the S gene and around the ORF8 between these SARSr-CoVs. We hypothesize that the direct progenitor of SARS-CoV may have originated after sequential recombination events between the precursors of these SARSr-CoVs. Cell entry studies demonstrated that three newly identified SARSr-CoVs with different S protein sequences are all able to use human ACE2 as the receptor, further exhibiting the close relationship between strains in this cave and SARS-CoV. This work provides new insights into the origin and evolution of SARS-CoV and highlights the necessity of preparedness for future emergence of SARS-like diseases.

<![CDATA[Optimizing Viral Discovery in Bats]]>

Viral discovery studies in bats have increased dramatically over the past decade, yet a rigorous synthesis of the published data is lacking. We extract and analyze data from 93 studies published between 2007–2013 to examine factors that increase success of viral discovery in bats, and specific trends and patterns of infection across host taxa and viral families. Over the study period, 248 novel viruses from 24 viral families have been described. Using generalized linear models, at a study level we show the number of host species and viral families tested best explained number of viruses detected. We demonstrate that prevalence varies significantly across viral family, specimen type, and host taxonomy, and calculate mean PCR prevalence by viral family and specimen type across all studies. Using a logistic model, we additionally identify factors most likely to increase viral detection at an individual level for the entire dataset and by viral families with sufficient sample sizes. Our analysis highlights major taxonomic gaps in recent bat viral discovery efforts and identifies ways to improve future viral pathogen detection through the design of more efficient and targeted sample collection and screening approaches.

<![CDATA[A Bat-Derived Putative Cross-Family Recombinant Coronavirus with a Reovirus Gene]]>

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2002 and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012 has generated enormous interest in the biodiversity, genomics and cross-species transmission potential of coronaviruses, especially those from bats, the second most speciose order of mammals. Herein, we identified a novel coronavirus, provisionally designated Rousettus bat coronavirus GCCDC1 (Ro-BatCoV GCCDC1), in the rectal swab samples of Rousettus leschenaulti bats by using pan-coronavirus RT-PCR and next-generation sequencing. Although the virus is similar to Rousettus bat coronavirus HKU9 (Ro-BatCoV HKU9) in genome characteristics, it is sufficiently distinct to be classified as a new species according to the criteria defined by the International Committee of Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). More striking was that Ro-BatCoV GCCDC1 contained a unique gene integrated into the 3’-end of the genome that has no homologs in any known coronavirus, but which sequence and phylogeny analyses indicated most likely originated from the p10 gene of a bat orthoreovirus. Subgenomic mRNA and cellular-level observations demonstrated that the p10 gene is functional and induces the formation of cell syncytia. Therefore, here we report a putative heterologous inter-family recombination event between a single-stranded, positive-sense RNA virus and a double-stranded segmented RNA virus, providing insights into the fundamental mechanisms of viral evolution.