The researchers have discovered a new pig virus, which could affect and pose a threat to the health of humans and other animals.
The latest laboratory tests reveal that porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV), first identified in pigs in Hong Kong in the year 2012, can readily find its path to reach the cells of humans and other species.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal on Monday, is the first one to point out towards the possible transmission of the PDCoV between different species.
Concerns related to PDCoV were first raised in the United States in the year 2014 when a diarrhea outbreak was detected in Ohio pigs and since then, the PDCoV has been identified in many other countries. The infected pigs experience acute vomiting as well as diarrhea and the disease can prove to be lethal. Till now, no cases of humans getting infected with the virus have been reported; however, the scientists are worried that there is a possibility now.
In the tests conducted on lab-developed human, pigs, chickens and cats cells, the researchers discovered that the PDCoV targets a particular receptor known as aminopeptidase N, which allows the virus to get into the body.
The pathogen shows few similar characteristics with Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) as well as Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome).
In the year 2002 and 2003, Sars killed 774 people across the globe while Mers has claimed the lives of 787 people since the year 2012.
While this latest study is just based on lab-developed pig cells and not only real living host organisms, the results cannot be 100 percent sure. However, the authors of the study say that the evidence related for new host switching event is very strong and so, it would be best to take the right preventive measures for it.