Coronavirus surveillance of wildlife in the Lao People's Democratic Republic detects viral RNA in rodents

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
D. J. McIverChristian E Lange


Coronaviruses can become zoonotic as in the case of COVID-19, and hunting, sale, and consumption of wild animals in Southeast Asia facilitates an increased risk for such incidents. We sampled and tested rodents (851) and other mammals, and found Betacoronavirus RNA in 12 rodents. The sequences belong to two separate genetic clusters, and relate closely to known rodent coronaviruses detected in the region, and distantly to human coronaviruses OC43 and HKU1. Considering close human-wildlife contact with many species in and beyond the region, a better understanding of virus diversity is urgently needed for the mitigation of future risks.

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