Connect with us

LATEST NEWS

Bat influenza viruses could potentially attack the cells of humans and livestock

Liberty Peters

Published

on

Bats don’t only carry the deadly Ebola virus, but are also a reservoir for a new type of influenza virus. These newly discovered flu viruses could potentially also attack the cells of humans and livestock, researchers at the University of Zurich have now shown.

Seasonal outbreaks of the flu are caused by influenza viruses that can only infect people. Influenza types that circulate in birds or pigs are normally not a threat to humans. However, in rare cases an avian or pig virus can pass on to humans – a process called zoonotic transmission – which at worst can lead to a global influenza pandemic with numerous serious illnesses and deaths.

Bats as a reservoir for dangerous viruses

About six years ago, a new kind of influenza virus was discovered in bats in South America. The flying mammals have been the focus of virologists for a long time already. This is because they carry many different kinds of viruses, including lethal ones such as the Ebola virus. However, it has previously been unclear whether bat influenza viruses also present a threat to humans. An international research team led by the University of Zurich (UZH) has now discovered that these new influenza viruses have the potential to also infect humans and livestock.

Global search for “entry gate”

Previously known influenza viruses bind to host cells via sialic acids. These groups of chemicals can be found on the surface of almost all human cells and in various animals. This is one of the reasons why influenza viruses can infect species that are very different from one another, such as ducks, chickens, pigs and humans. Unlike these viruses, the bat influenza viruses don’t bind to sialic acids, which is why several research teams all over the world started searching for the receptor through which they enter human cells.

Bat viruses use MHC-II molecule to enter cell

Silke Stertz and her team at the Institute of Medical Virology at UZH have now been able to identify this “entry gate”. “The influenza viruses use MHC-II molecules to enter the host cell,” says the head of the study. These protein complexes are normally located on the surface of certain immune cells, and their role is to distinguish between the body’s own cells and structures and those that are foreign. A few other virus types also enter cells in this way.

Potential risk for humans and livestock

“What surprised us is that bat influenza viruses can not only use the MHC-II complexes of human cells, but also those of chickens, pigs, mice and several bat species,” explains UZH PhD candidate Umut Karakus, first author of the study. The influenza viruses of bats thus have the potential to infect both humans as well as livestock, at least at the level of entering cells. “Such an infection has not yet been observed. However, our findings show that the viruses generally have this zoonotic potential,” adds Silke Stertz. This is reason enough for the UZH virologist to continue researching the potentially dangerous viruses, not least since due to migration and travel the problem is not restricted to South America.

Member and content contributor for the Human Parasites Support Network. Also co-hosts on the HPSN talk show. Survivor and victim of parasitic infections.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Medical News

#CDC

OUTBREAK UPDATE: Chicks and ducklings in backyard flocks linked to 2 deaths from Salmonella infection. Wash your hands to stay healthy after handling chicks and ducks, their eggs, or their environment. Learn more. go.usa.gov/xmpnE

test Twitter Media - OUTBREAK UPDATE: Chicks and ducklings in backyard flocks linked to 2 deaths from Salmonella infection. Wash your hands to stay healthy after handling chicks and ducks, their eggs, or their environment. Learn more. https://t.co/syVJh03Kq0 https://t.co/8XXhaRS8zo

#DYK? Food poisoning peaks in summer months. When grilling, cook food thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to ensure food is hot enough to kill harmful germs. Learn more about how to grill safely. bit.ly/2GktYux #FAQFriday

11% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. are younger than 45 years old. Learn your risk: bit.ly/2XsqDUh.

test Twitter Media - 11% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. are younger than 45 years old. Learn your risk: https://t.co/lxiKvyCh15. https://t.co/zcwJ0Flaky

@ADayWithLove Flour is a raw, agricultural product and has not been treated to kill germs like E. coli. These germs can get into flour during harvest or at any point during production. Learn more: bit.ly/2g043JU.

@Meanjean2300 @FDAfood @US_FDA Flour is a raw, agricultural product and has not been treated to kill germs like E. coli. These germs can get into flour during harvest or at any point during production. Learn more: bit.ly/2g043JU.

#LymeDisease

Did the US military cause #LymeDisease? Pentagon is urged to investigate whether ticks were developed as 'biological weapons' in the 1950s amid rise in debilitating disease  dailymail.co.uk/health/article…

Another hot day, which is doing nothing to help me feel better. 😥 I'm getting lots of #writing done this weekend though. #amwriting #amwritingfantasy #AlterReach #writingcommunity #chronicpain #chronicpainwarrior #chronicpainawareness #chronicillness #LymeDisease

Be vigilant about checking yourself and human family members too! #LymeDisease twitter.com/tickencounter/…

It's that seropositive time of year, folks! 🕷 Save that 💊 #doxycycline for the real necessities!! 🐶🐾 #LymeDisease #OldLyme #SoMeDocs #medtwitter #vetmed #ticks #citrus twitter.com/CliniciansBrie…

Lyme-infected ticks are so common in parts of Canada, testing no longer done, by ⁦@mrabson⁩ via ⁦@globeandmail#LymeDisease theglobeandmail.com/canada/article…

Were ticks used as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975? @RepChrisSmith wants to find out and on July 12 the House passed a bill. #LymeDisease lymedisease.org/weaponized-tic…

#NTD’s

No result could be fetched.

Trending

Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved. The Human Parasite Support Network.