BREAKING! A New Coronavirus Originating From Dogs And Infecting Humans Discovered In Malaysia But Data Was Suppressed Till Now!
A new revelation has emerged that a new canine coronavirus
that infects human originating from dogs has been discovered in Malaysia, making it the eight coronavirus that is able to affect humans.
The data on this new coronavirus was suppressed by WHO, American health officials and attempts were made to suppress this study findings until the discovery was published eventually in a peer reviewed journal in the last few hours.
The study findings were published in the journal: Clinical Infectious Diseases.
There are still many unknowns about this new coronavirus and it is still speculated to be in circulation and what is most worrying is that with Malaysia already having a severe crisis from the current SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, could co-infections or even a newly emerged recombinant strain be responsible for the disease severity and rapid disease progression being witnessed in those currently being infected there.
During the last two decades, various new coronaviruses have emerged from animals with remarkable regularity. In 2002, SARS-CoV jumped from civets into people. Ten years later, MERS emerged from camels. Then in 2019, SARS-CoV-2 began to spread around the world.
To many experts, this pattern points to a disturbing trend: Coronavirus outbreaks aren't rare events and will likely occur every decade or so.
Alarmingly, international scientists from the The Ohio State University-USA, University of Gondar-Ethopia, Duke University-USA, SEGi University-Malaysia are reporting that they have discovered what may be the latest coronavirus to jump from animals into people. And it comes from a surprising source: dogs.
Initially when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded, Dr Gregory Gray started to wonder whether there might be other coronaviruses out there already making people sick and threatening to trigger another outbreak.
The key obstacle was that he didn't have a tool to look for them. The test for COVID-19, he says, is extremely limited. It tells whether one particular virus ie SARS-CoV-2 is present in a person's respiratory tract, and nothing else.
Dr Gray, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Duke University's Global Health Institute told Thailand Medical News, "Diagnostics are very specific. They generally focus on known viruses."
Hence Dr Gray challenged a graduate student in his lab, Dr Leshan Xiu, to make a more powerful test ie one that would work like a COVID-19 test but could detect all coronaviruses, even the unknown ones.
Dr Xiu not only rose to the challenge, but the tool he created worked better than expected.
Shockingly in the first batch of samples tested last year, Dr Gray and Dr Xiu found evidence of an entirely new coronavirus associated with pneumonia in hospitalized patients ie mostly in kids.
This coronavirus may be the eighth coronavirus known to cause disease in humans. &l
The report was sent to the WHO, U.S CDC, and various health authorities but there were attempts to suppress the study findings.
The test samples came from patients at a hospital in Sarawak, Malaysia, taken by a collaborator in 2017 and 2018. "These were deep nasal swabs, like doctors collect with the COVID-19 patients," says Dr Gray.
It should be noted that the patients had what looked like regular pneumonia. But in eight out of 301 samples tested, or 2.7%, Dr Xui and Dr Gray found that the patients' upper respiratory tracts were infected with a new canine coronavirus, i.e., a dog virus.
Dr Gray added, "That's a pretty high prevalence of a new virus. That's remarkable."
So remarkable, in fact, that Dr Gray actually thought maybe he and Dr Xiu had made a mistake.
He said, “Perhaps Dr Xiu's test wasn't working quite right. You always wonder if there was a problem in the lab.”
In order to validate their findings, Dr Gray sent the patients' samples over to a world expert on animal coronaviruses at Ohio State University.
She too was initially dubious. "I thought, 'There's something wrong,' " says virologist Dr Anastasia Vlasova. "Canine coronaviruses were not thought to be transmitted to people. It's never been reported before."
Still, Dr Vlasova went to work. She tried to grow the coronavirus in the lab, using a special solution she knew worked for other dog coronaviruses.
Lo and behold, "the virus grew very well," she says.
With a lot of virus on hand, Dr Vlasova could decode its genome. From the virus's gene sequences, she could see that the virus had likely infected cats and pigs at one point. But it likely jumped directly from dogs into people. "The majority of the genome was canine coronavirus," she says.
Surprisingly she found a disturbing clue about the virus's future.
"We did discover a very, very unique mutation or deletion in the genome," Dr Vlasova says. That specific deletion, she says, isn't present in any other known dog coronaviruses, but it is found somewhere else: in human coronaviruses. "It's a mutation that's very similar to one previously found in the SARS coronavirus and in current variants of SARS-CoV-2 ... that appeared very soon after its introduction into the human population," Dr Vlastova says.
Importantly this deletion, she believes, helps the dog virus infect or persist inside humans. And it may be a key step required for coronaviruses to make the jump into people.
She said, "Apparently the deletion is somehow associated with the virus' adaptation during this jump from animal to human.”
Significantly this genetic data suggest that Dr Vlasova and her colleagues are catching this new coronavirus early on in its journey in people, while it's still trying to figure out how to infect people efficiently and possibly, before it can spread from person to person and trigger a big outbreak.
Hence alarmingly this shows that the virus is newly evolved and still evolving.
Virologist Dr Xuming Zhang from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences added, "There's no evidence yet of transmission from human to human. But it's not known how these patients became infected with the virus or whether they had direct contact with infected animals.”
Dr Zhang has studied coronaviruses for more than 30 years. He thinks it's too early to call this new virus a human pathogen.
He said, "As the authors are careful to say in their paper, they have not proven what's called Koch's postulates." That is, Dr Vlasova, Dr Gray and colleagues haven't shown that the new coronavirus causes pneumonia; so far, it has only been associated with the disease.
Dr Zhang further added, "To do that, strictly, they need to inject the virus into humans and see if it reproduces the disease. Of course for ethical reasons, we cannot do that."
However, Dr Zhang says, they can look to see how common the virus is in pneumonia patients around the world and they can test to see whether it makes mice or another animal sick.
However Dr Zhang says he wouldn't be surprised if this dog virus is, in fact, a new human pathogen.
Dr Zhang thinks that the more scientists look for unknown coronaviruses inside pneumonia patients, the more they are going to find. "I believe there are many animal coronaviruses out there that can transmit to humans."
In order to stop a future coronavirus pandemic, he says, scientists need to do more testing in people and seek out these strange, hidden infections before they become a problem.
However more importantly ,there is an urgent need now in Malaysia considering the dire situation, to do more genomic testing of samples from all currently infected patients so as to get a clearer perspective as to what variants are at play. Such an exercise is most likely to result in some shocking revelations.
The WHO and U.S. CDC has refused to comment on this new findings.Malaysian health authorities have yet to issue any press statements on this new discovery.
Countries sharing borders with Malaysia should exercise more vigilance as these new coronavirus strains could eaily spread across the borders if they are in circulation in the local Malysian community.
Thailand Medical News will be providing updates on this new emerging canine coronavirus infecting humans in Malaysia.