By Jen Krausz – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health
A pig virus found in China in 2012 and in Ohio in 2014 could threaten humans, researchers found when they studied the virus in a lab setting.
The porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) was not even thought to be a disease when it was found in China in 2012, Newsweek reported. In Ohio in 2014, it was causing severe diarrhea in the animals that was sometimes fatal.
No other animals have been affected by the virus except for some birds, but scientists think it could be similar to SARS and MERS outbreaks that have killed over 1,000 people in several outbreaks, Newsweek reported.
Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine experimented on the virus and found that it invaded cultured human cells and other cells in the lab, which shows potential for the virus to jump to humans or other animals. The study does not definitively prove that it will do so, Newsweek reported.
“We’re very concerned about emerging coronaviruses and worry about the harm they can do to animals and their potential to jump to humans,” Ohio State professor and study co-author Linda Saif said, Newsweek reported.
If the virus could find a receptor on human cells, it could potentially make the jump, Health Day News reported.
“A receptor is like a lock in the door. If the virus can pick the lock, it can get into the cell and potentially infect the host,” lead researcher and Ohio State professor Scott Kenney said.
The team plans to continue to investigate the virus by looking for antibodies in human blood that would suggest the pig virus may have infected people even if no symptoms were present, Health Day News reported.