Scholars question the new study: Are snakes the most likely wildlife to carry the new coronavirus?

In a new study published in the Journal of Medical Virology Journal on January 22, a team of researchers from Peking University, Guangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ningbo University and Wuhan School of Biological Engineering published new findings on the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV:

2019-nCoV may be a recombinant virus of bat coronavirus with an unknown source of coronavirus;

Snakes are the most likely wildlife to carry 2019-nCoV;

Homologous recombination in the stingy glycoprotein may help the spread of new viruses from snakes to humans across species.

Scholars question the new study: Are snakes the most likely wildlife to carry the new coronavirus?

In this article named Homologous recombination with in the spike glycoprotein of the newly identified coronavirus may boost-cross-species t In a paper from snake to human, researchers identified a possible virus library based on an existing sequence of newly discovered coronavirus 2019-nCoV, The use of bias (RSCU) in combination with relative synonuss between different animal species was comprehensively sequenced and compared.

The study used silver ring snakes and Zhoushan cobras for RSCU analysis, which had a bias of 12.77 and 14.70, respectively, with 2019-nCoV. By contrast, other animals have a bias of more than 24 compared to 2019-nCoV. As a result, snakes are the closest to the transcription mechanism of 2019-nCoV.

According to the study, snakes are the most likely wildlife to carry 2019-nCoV, and the possibility of an outbreak of the new virus is also highest. Homologous recombination in the stingy glycoprotein may help the spread of new viruses from snakes to humans across species.

Scholars question the new study: Are snakes the most likely wildlife to carry the new coronavirus?

RsCU bias comparison diagram between different animals and new viruses

The researchers raised two possibilities: on the one hand, it could also be related to homologous recombination in stingy glycoproteins, and the other is that the new virus is transmitted from snake to human body. Because snakes are cold-blooded reptiles with lower body temperatures than the human body, the effect may decrease when the virus spreads to the body.

The study also noted that no 2019-nCoV has been found in animals. Identifying the animal bank of the new virus can help reveal the source of recombination and the potential transmission mechanisms between populations.

Voices of Controversy

Scholars question the new study: Are snakes the most likely wildlife to carry the new coronavirus?

However, such news was quickly questioned by the academic community: the scientific media “intellectuals” business column published on the 23rd, said, “bats are mammals, beavers and camels are mammals, and humans are also mammals.” In other words, the transmission of SARS and MERS viruses is carried between mammals. But snakes are not mammals. “

He questioned the conclusion that the “new coronavirus epidemic originated from snakes”, which is like a person from Wuhan to Beijing, if the middle must turn a car, someone even suggested that he go to Guiyang to transfer. This is not a good choice.

Scholars question the new study: Are snakes the most likely wildlife to carry the new coronavirus?

The “intellectuals” aforementioned column questioned the need for experimental evidence for the determination of the middle host. “Unfortunately, the authors of this paper did not do anything, and with a few simple bioinformatics analysis, the conclusion that ‘Wuhan’s new coronavirus is likely to be transmitted by snakes to humans’ is the conclusion. It is also regrettable that the Journal of Medical Virology has published such a flawed paper. “

“If someone still thinks the snake is the intermediate host of the virus, what kind of evidence do they need to provide?” the article said.

First, it needs to be proved that the virus is in the snake.

Second, it needs to be shown that the virus can grow and reproduce in snakes.

Finally, it needs to be shown that the virus presented from snakes is pathogenic (e.g. taking a monkey test). “

The authors say that when some acute infectious diseases are endemic, scientists need to publish their findings as soon as possible, and scientific journals should publish academic papers as soon as possible. But all this should be done under the conditions of scientific rigour, otherwise it will have a negative effect. Take this research paper, which would mislead the public that “snakes are likely to be the source of infection”, which would make people ignore the real source of infection.

Trace 2019-nCoV Origins

On December 30, 2019, news broke of unexplained viral pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province.

On January 7, 2020, the pathogen was initially identified as a new coronavirus, sequenced and sequenced its entire genome. It was subsequently announced.

Scholars question the new study: Are snakes the most likely wildlife to carry the new coronavirus?

2019-nCoV new coronavirus under the electric mirror

On the 20th, Zhong Nanshan, head of the high-level expert group of the National Health and Reform Commission and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, pointed out in an interview that the source of the outbreak is mainly in the local seafood market in Wuhan, in fact, a considerable number of this seafood market is not seafood, but “wild game”, is wild animals.

Gao Fu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said publicly that the source of the new coronavirus was wild animals illegally sold at a seafood market in Wuhan. Wild animals such as poultry, snakes and bats are sold here.

In fact, the 2003 SARS virus came from fruit beavers and was transmitted to humans, and the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV has once again focused researchers’ attention on wild animals.

On the 21st, Researcher Yu Pei, Researcher of the Pasteur Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, Zhong Wu, Researcher of the National Center for Emergency Prevention and Control drug Engineering And Technology research of the Institute of Military Medicine, and Li Xuan, a researcher of the Key Laboratory of Synthetic Biology of the Center of Molecular Plant Excellence of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, collaborated in Science in China: Life Sciences (SCIENCE CHINA LIFE) Sciences published a paper that reveals for the first time the evolutionary origin of the new coronavirus and the possible proteins it depends on.

The study noted that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV virus exoplanets are in bats coronavirus HKU9-1, and many human strains associated with coronaviruses are associated with bats, many of which are natural hosts of bats. The study points out that bats are likely to be the primary hosts of wuhan’s new coronavirus, which has evolved and mutated to complete bat-to-human transmission. However, there may be more intermediate hosts from bats to humans.

It is understood that the virus is determined by sequencing the viral RNA genome, and the determination of viral RNA sequences has made it possible to develop an inreverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method.

Scholars question the new study: Are snakes the most likely wildlife to carry the new coronavirus?

Up to now, the new pneumonia epidemic in the context of the Spring Festival travel is spreading to cities across the country trend. According to the latest official data, as of 12 a.m. on January 23, 2020, a total of 585 cases have been confirmed in 29 provinces and cities, 393 suspected cases, 28 cases of cure and 17 deaths.

Up and down the country, from the public to the organizations, from health care workers to health care committee and other regulatory authorities, from enterprise units to academic organizations, all closely concerned and carried out the prevention and treatment of new pneumonia outbreaks.

We can see the tireless efforts and enthusiasm of researchers on the pneumonia outbreak, but we also need to give enough time to test this conclusion. The outbreak is also a reminder that it is equally important to respond “positively” and “cautiously” to the outbreak.

Source: iNature, Global Science, CCTV News, Intellectuals

RELATED LINKS: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmv.25682