2019 novel #Coronavirus: Rapid #Classification of #Betacoronaviruses and Identification of #TCM as Potential Origin of #Zoonotic Coronaviruses (Lett Appl Microbiol., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Lett Appl Microbiol 2020 Feb 14 [Online ahead of print]

2019_nCoV: Rapid Classification of Betacoronaviruses and Identification of Traditional Chinese Medicine as Potential Origin of Zoonotic Coronaviruses

Trudy M Wassenaar 1, Ying Zou 2

Affiliations: 1 Molecular Microbiology and Genomics Consultants, Tannenstrasse 7, 55576, Zotzenheim, Germany. 2 SciPaperEdit, Chuangkexing, 17# Wenzhi Street, Hongshan District, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

PMID: 32060933 DOI: 10.1111/lam.13285



The current outbreak of a novel SARS-like coronavirus, 2019_nCoV, illustrated difficulties in identifying a novel coronavirus and its natural host, as the coding sequences of various Betacoronavirus species can be highly diverse. By means of whole-genome sequence comparisons, we demonstrate that the non-coding flanks of the viral genome can be used to correctly separate the recognized four betacoronavirus subspecies. The conservation would be sufficient to define target sequences that could, in theory, classify novel virus species into their subspecies. Only 253 upstream non-coding sequences of Sarbecovirus are sufficient to identify genetic similarities between species of this subgenus. Further, it was investigated which bat species have commercial value in China, and would thus likely be handled for trading purposes. A number of coronavirus genomes have been published that were obtained from such bat species. These bats are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and their handling poses a potential risk to cause zoonotic coronavirus epidemics.

Keywords: Sarbecovirus; Coronavirus; Traditional Chinese Medicine; bats; epidemic; whole-genome comparison; zoonosis.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Betacoronavirus; Sarbecovirus; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Bats.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.