Infection with the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces the coronavirus infectious disease 19 (COVID-19). Its pandemic form in human population and its probable animal origin, along with recent case reports in pets, make drivers of emergence crucial in carnivore domestic pets, especially cats, dogs and ferrets. Few data are available in these species; we first listed forty-six possible drivers of emergence of COVID-19 in pets, regrouped in eight domains (i.e. pathogen/disease characteristics, spatial-temporal distance of outbreaks, ability to monitor, disease treatment and control, characteristics of pets, changes in climate conditions, wildlife interface, human activity, and economic and trade activities). Secondly, we developed a scoring system per driver, then elicited experts (N = 33) to: (i) allocate a score to each driver, (ii) weight the drivers scores within each domain and (iii) weight the different domains between them. Thirdly, an overall weighted score per driver was calculated; drivers were ranked in decreasing order. Fourthly, a regression tree analysis was used to group drivers with comparable likelihood to play a role in the emergence of COVID-19 in pets. Finally, the robustness of the expert elicitation was verified. Five drivers were ranked with the highest probability to play a key role in the emergence of COVID-19 in pets: availability and quality of diagnostic tools, human density close to pets, ability of preventive/control measures to avoid the disease introduction or spread in a country (except treatment, vaccination and reservoir(s) control), current species specificity of the disease causing agent and current knowledge on the pathogen. As scientific knowledge on the topic is scarce and still uncertain, expert elicitation of knowledge, in addition with clustering and sensitivity analyses, is of prime importance to prioritize future studies, starting from the top five drivers. The present methodology is applicable to other emerging pet diseases.
After its first description in Wuhan (China), SARS-CoV-2 the agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) rapidly spread worldwide. Previous studies suggested that pets could be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Here, we investigated the putative infection of SARS-CoV-2 in 22 cats and 11 dogs from owners previously infected or suspected of being infected by SARS-CoV-2. For each animal, rectal, nasopharyngeal swabs and serum were taken. Swabs were submitted to RT-qPCR assays targeting 2 genes of SARS-CoV-2. All dogs were tested SARS-CoV-2 negative. One cat was tested positive by RT-qPCR on rectal swab. Nasopharyngeal swabs from this animal were tested negative. This cat showed mild respiratory and digestive signs. Serological analysis confirm the presence of antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the two serum samples taken 10 days apart. Genome sequence analysis revealed that the cat SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the phylogenetic clade A2a like most of the French human SARS-CoV-2. This study reports for the first time the natural infection of a cat in France (near Paris) probably through their owners. There is currently no evidence that cats can spread COVID-19 and owners should not abandon their pets or compromise their welfare.
Even though antimicrobial-resistant bacteria have begun to be detected in wildlife, raising important issues related to their transmission and persistence of clinically important pathogens in the environment, little is known about the role of these bacteria on wildlife health, especially on endangered species. The Brazilian merganser (Mergus octosetaceus) is one of the most threatened waterfowl in the world, classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In 2019, a fatal case of sepsis was diagnosed in an 8-day-old Brazilian merganser inhabiting a zoological park. At necropsy, major gross lesions were pulmonary and hepatic congestion. Using microbiologic and genomic methods, we identified a multidrug-resistant (MDR) extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) CTX-M-8-producing Escherichia coli (designed as PMPU strain) belonging to the international clone ST58, in celomic cavity, esophagus, lungs, small intestine and cloaca samples. PMPU strain harbored a broad resistome against antibiotics (cephalosporins, tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, sulfonamides, trimethoprim, and quinolones), domestic/hospital disinfectants, and heavy metals (arsenic, mercury, lead, copper, and silver). Additionally, the virulence of E. coli PMPU strain was confirmed using a wax moth (Galleria mellonella) infection model, and it was supported by the presence of virulence genes encoding toxins, adherence factors, invasins and iron acquisition systems. Broad resistome and virulome of PMPU contributed to therapeutic failure and death of the animal. In brief, we report for the first time a fatal colibacillosis by MDR-ESBL-producing E. coli in critically endangered Brazilian merganser, highlighting that besides colonization, critical priority pathogens are threatening wildlife. E. coli ST58 clone has been previously reported in humans, food-producing animals, wildlife, and environment, supporting broad adaptation and persistence at human-animal-environment interface.
Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a major enteric pathogen of dogs worldwide that emerged in the late 1970s from a feline parvovirus (FPV)-like ancestral virus. Shortly after its emergence, variant CPVs were generated by acquiring amino-acid (aa) mutations in key capsid residues, associated with biological and/or antigenic changes. This study aimed to identify CPV variants amongst Australian dogs, to gain insights into the evolution of CPV in Australia through phylogenetic analysis of these variants, and to investigate relationships between the disease and vaccination status of dogs from which isolates were collected. CPV VP2 sequences were amplified from 79 faecal samples collected from dogs with parvoviral enteritis at 20 veterinary practices in 5 Australian states. The median age at diagnosis was 4 months (range 1 to 96 months). Only 3.7% of dogs with vaccination histories had completed recommended vaccination schedules, while 49% were incompletely vaccinated and 47.2% were unvaccinated. For the first time, CPV-2b has emerged as the dominant antigenic CPV variant circulating in dogs with parvoviral enteritis in Australia, comprising 54.4% of strains, while CPV-2a and CPV-2 comprised 43.1% and 2.5% of strains. CPV-2c strains were not identified. Analysis of translated VP2 sequences revealed a vast repertoire of aa mutations. Several Australian CPV strains displayed signatures in the VP2 protein typical of Asian CPVs, suggestion introduction of CPV strains from Asia, and/or CPV circulation between Asia and Australia. Strains of CPV were identified containing aa residues typical of FPV at capsid (VP2) key positions, representing reverse mutations or residual mutations retained from CPV-2 during adaptation from an FPV-like ancestor, suggesting that evolutionary intermediates between CPV-2 and FPV are circulating in the field. Similarly, intermediates between CPV-2a-like viruses and CPV-2 were also identified. These findings help inform a better understanding of the evolution of CPV in dogs.
Previous research has identified a relationship between climate and occurrence of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV cases, information that can be used to reduce the risk of infection. Using COVID-19 notification and postcode data from New South Wales, Australia during the exponential phase of the epidemic in 2020, we used time-series analysis to investigate the relationship between 749 cases of locally-acquired COVID-19 and daily rainfall, 9am and 3pm temperature, and 9am and 3pm relative humidity. Lower 9am relative humidity (but not rainfall or temperature) was associated with increased case occurrence; a reduction in relative humidity of 1% was predicted to be associated with an increase of COVID-19 cases by 6.11%. During periods of low relative humidity, the public health system should anticipate an increased number of COVID-19 cases.
Tilapia lake virus (TiLV) is an emerging virus that is rapidly spreading across the world. Over the past 6 years (2014–2020), TiLV outbreaks had been reported in at least 16 countries, spanning three continents, including Asia, Africa, and America. Despite its enormous economic impact, its origin, evolution, and epidemiology are still largely poorly characterised. Here, we report eight TiLV whole genome sequences from Thailand sampled between 2014–2019. Together with publicly available sequences from various regions of the world, we estimated the origin of TiLV to be between 2003–2009, 5–10 years before the first report of the virus in Israel in 2014. Our analyses consistently showed that TiLV started to spread in 2000s, and reached its peak in 2014–2016, matching well with the timing of its first report. From 2016 onwards, the TiLV population declined steadily. This could be a result of herd immunity building up in the fish population, and / or a reflection of a better awareness of the virus coupled with a better and more cautious protocol of Tilapia importation. Despite the fact that we included all publicly available sequences, our analyses revealed long unsampled histories of TiLVs in many countries, especially towards its basal diversification. This result highlights the lack and the need for systematic surveillance of TiLV in fish.
A new pathogenic virus, COVID-19, appeared in 2019, in Wuhan, China, typically causing fever, cough, diarrhea and fatigue and significant mortality. COVID-19 has also shown about 80% genetic similarity to the Severe Acute Respiratory Symptom (SARS) virus, which is already known to be derived from a bat virus. Arterial thrombosis and venous thrombosis, variously attributed to long term patient immobilizations, inflammation, autoimmune reactions or endothelial cell damage to the blood vessels, have also been reported for COVID-19 infections. However, there is another explanation for thrombosis (blood clots) in many patients infected with COVID-19.
Repurposing of existing antiviral drugs, immunological modulators, and supportive therapies represents a promising path toward rapidly developing new control strategies to mitigate the devastating public health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. A comprehensive text-mining and manual curation approach was used to comb and summarize the most pertinent information from existing clinical trials. Drugs with previous efficacy against related betacoronaviruses like SARS and MERS were also systematically evaluated as potentially promising candidates for drug repositioning.
New technologies in the field of vaccinology arise as necessity for treatment and control of many diseases. Currently modified live virus and inactivated vaccines used for Bovine Herpesvirus-1 (BoHV-1) have several disadvantages. Previous works for preventive treatment of BoHV-1 with DNA based vaccines have demonstrated the capability to induce humoral and cellular immune response. Nevertheless, it is well known that “naked” DNA induces low immunogenic response. Thus, loading of antigen encoding DNA sequences in liposomal formulations targeting dendritic cell receptors could be a promising strategy to better activate these antigen presenting cells (APC). In this work, DNA based vaccine encoding the truncated version of gD glycoprotein (pCIgD) of BoHV-1 was investigated alone and upon encapsulation on liposomal formulation coated with MANα1-2MAN-PEG-DOPE and LPS from Brucella ovis (pCIgD-Man-L) in mice and cattle assay. Results showed that the use of pCIgD-Man-L was capable to enhance the immune response in both animal models. Significant levels of humoral immunity were achieved when total antibody titers and isotypes were detected in sera and mucosa. For cellular immunity, specific viral lymphoproliferation was detected in the animals inoculated with pCIgD-Man-L. In addition, positively modulation of CD40 molecules on the surface of bovine dendritic cells (DCs) was observed when cells were stimulated and activated with vaccine formulations. When challenge assay was performed, bovines inoculated with pCIgD and liposome decorated with MANα1-2MAN-PEG-DOPE elicited better protection and diminished viral excretion. The results demonstrate the targeting of the MANα1-2MAN coated liposomes toward dendritic cells and their ability to boost the immunogenicity according to an adjuvant effect that results in long-lasting immunity. Liposome decorated with MANα1-2MAN-PEG-DOPE were for the first time tested as DNA based vaccine in cattle as preventive treatment of BoHV-1. These results open up new perspectives for the design of vaccine for the control of bovine rhinotracheitis.
The world is confronting a dire situation due to the recent pandemic of the novel coronavirus disease (2019-nCoV) with so far mortality cases of 100,000 all over the world. Currently, there are no effective enough treatment options for this previously unknown virus. The current drugs in pipline and some plausible drug are overviewed in this paper. The potential molecular targets of each steps of the 2019-nCoV drug life cycle is discussed and highlights here. Although different types of anti-viral targets are applicable for 2019-nCoV drug screenings, the more promising targets can be considered as protease and RNA polymerase. Based on the results from antiviral agents repurposing and clinical studies, the remdesivir could be an encouraging drug in the frontline to be administrated for 2019-nCoV. Much progress in understanding the 2019-nCoV the molecular details of its life cycle followed by the identification of therapeutic targets seems to be an efficient approach in discovering potential drugs.
In order to analyze the prevalence of cat viral diseases in China, including feline parvovirus (FPV), feline calicivirus (FCV), feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV), a total of 1,326 samples of cats from 16 cities were investigated from 2016 to 2019. Collectively, 1,060 (79.9%) cats were tested positive for at least one virus in nucleotide detection, the positive rates of cat exposure to FeLV, FPV, FHV-1, FCV, FIV and FIPV were 59.6%, 19.2%, 16.3%, 14.2%, 1.5% and 0.5%, respectively. The prevalence of FHV-1 and FPV were dominant in winter and spring. Cats from north China showed a higher positive rate of viral infection than that of cats from south China. The virus infection is not highly correlated with age, except that FPV is prone to occur within the age of 12 months. In the serological survey, the seroprevalences of 267 vaccinated cats to FPV, FCV, FHV-1 were 83.9%, 58.3% and 44.0%, respectively. Meanwhile, the seroprevalences of 39 unvaccinated cats to FPV, FCV, FHV-1 were 76.9% (30/39), 82.4% (28/34) and 58.6% (17/29), respectively. This study demonstrated that a high prevalence of the six viral diseases in China, and the insufficient serological potency of FCV and FHV reminds the urgency for more effective vaccines.
There are several routes of African swine fever (ASF) introduction into a country. Among the possible routes of entry, quarantine policies determine the possibility of introduction by legal import of live pigs and pig products. This study aimed at assessing the probability of ASF introduction through legal import of live pigs and pig products during the high risk period (HRP) using a quantitative stochastic approach during 2009-2018. The result indicates that the mean annual probability of ASF introduction by legal import of live pig was 1.58×10-7 (1.52~1.67×10-7 95% CI). The mean annual probability by legal import of pig products was 1.59×10-10 (1.55~1.64×10-10 95% CI), of which Poland assumed 87.9% of the mean annual risk. The current import quarantine policy of Korean government may be enough to block the release of the virus via legal import of live pigs and pig products, and it should be continually enforced. This result can help to elucidate source of infection and minimize the catastrophic consequences of the potential ASF reintroduction into South Korea by designing risk mitigation strategies such as risk-based selection of routes to be assessed and prevented and decreased exposure possibility by increased control of food waste and swill feeding practices.
The occurrence of mycobacterial infections in different hosts and their implication as obligate or opportunistic pathogens remain mainly unclear. In addition to the well-known pathogenic members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis - complex (MTBC), over 180 nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) species have been described. Although the large majority of the NTM are assumed to be non-pathogenic to most individuals, an increasing trend in NTM infections has been observed over the last decades. The reasons of such augmentation are probably more than one: improved laboratory diagnostics, an increasing number of immunocompromised patients and individuals with lung damage are some of the possible aspects. Mandibular lymph nodes of 176 hunted wild boars from the pre-Alpine region of Canton Ticino, Switzerland, were collected. Following gross inspection, each lymph node was subjected to culture and to an IS6110 based real-time PCR specific for MTBC members. Histology was performed of a selection of lymph nodes presenting gross visible lesions. Moreover, accuracy of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry species identification was compared with sequence analysis of a combination of housekeeping genes. Mycobacteria of the MTBC were detected in five out of 176 wild boars (2.8%; CI95% 1.2 - 6.5) and were all confirmed to be Mycobacterium microti by molecular methods. In addition, based on the examined lymph nodes, NTM were detected in 57.4% (CI95% 50.0 – 64.5) of the wild boars originating from the study area. The 111 isolates belonged to 24 known species and three potentially undescribed Mycobacterium species. M. avium subsp. hominissuis thereby predominated (22.5%) and was found in lymph nodes with and without macroscopic changes. Overall, the present findings show that, with the exception of undescribed Mycobacterium species where identification was not possible (3.6%; 4/111), MALDI-TOF had a high concordance rate (90.1%; 100/111 isolates) to the sequence based reference method.