A new type of coronavirus can infect almost all mammals. This was the conclusion of an international group of biologists from China, the USA, and Canada, the reprint of which was published on bioRxiv.
Recently, scientists have found that a new type of coronavirus can infect not only humans but also some mammals – in particular, ferrets and cats. The latter carry the disease as hard as some people. There was evidence that the coronavirus was not transmitted to dogs, but after that data was published that the virus was transmitted to dogs, and one pet even died from COVID-19.
During the study, scientists tried to infect the SARS-CoV-2 virus with different types of animals that live with humans.
In the new work, scientists took a different path: they studied the mechanism by which the virus binds to 14 different variations of the ACE2 protein, which covers certain types of lung cells.
Researchers studied the structure of ACE2 in fourteen mammalian species and monitored how actively the synthetic analog of the new type of coronavirus, including its weakened version, will bind to the protein. It was about rabbits, badgers, raccoons, cats, dogs, pangolins, rats, mice and others.
“We studied how the virus binds to 14 different variations of the ACE2 protein, which it uses to enter lung cells. These experiments showed that all versions of this protein, with the exception of those found in mice and rats, can bind to SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, we can say that the virus can infect all these types of mammals”.
Xuesen Zhao, lead author of the study
On the one hand, the study excludes various conspiracy theories that state that a new type of coronavirus was developed in China – before it became dangerous to humans, it went through many animals. On the other hand, the researchers warn that so far there are no confirmed cases of transmission of the virus from animals to humans.
In addition, we are talking about reprint – a version of a scientific article, which has not yet been reviewed by other scientists.