Scientists fear they have found the next big pandemic threat – a virus that lives in monkeys in Africa.
The simian hemorrhagic fever virus (SHFV) causes devastating Ebola-like symptoms, including internal bleeding, and kills virtually all primates it infects.
It hijacks the immune system, disables key defense mechanisms and breaks down the body cell by cell.
No case has yet been detected in humans, but it is “on the verge of spreading”, according to American researchers.
By developing tests and monitoring the virus now, “the global health community could potentially avoid another pandemic,” they said.
Scientists fear they have found the next big pandemic threat – a virus that lives in monkeys in Africa. It is similar to the Ebola virus (shown in the stock image)
Experts from the University of Colorado at Boulder are sounding the alarm over the “compatibility of SHFV…with humans”. In a lab study, they found that the virus is able to easily latch onto a human receptor and copy itself
Experts from the University of Colorado at Boulder are sounding the alarm over the “compatibility of SHFV…with humans”.
In a laboratory study, they found that the virus is able to easily latch onto a human receptor and replicate.
The study’s lead author, Dr Sara Sawyer, said: ‘This animal virus has discovered how to gain access to human cells, multiply and evade some of the important immune mechanisms that we expect to protect us from an animal virus. .
‘It’s pretty rare. We should pay attention to it.
In macaque monkeys, SHFV causes fever, water retention in body tissues, anorexia and hemorrhages. The disease is almost always fatal in about two weeks.
The virus was first sequenced in macaque monkeys in US and Russian laboratories in 1964
It appears to attack immune cells in the same way as HIV, the precursor of which comes from a type of chimpanzee in Africa.
Author Professor Cody Warren said: “There are profound similarities between this virus and the simian viruses that caused the HIV pandemic.”
Reservoirs for the family of viruses that includes SHFV
What is simian hemorrhagic fever virus (SHFV)?
SHFV is a highly pathogenic virus commonly found in non-human primates
It causes high fever and internal bleeding and there is no cure
The first outbreaks occurred in the USSR and in a US-based NIH laboratory in the 1960s
Since then, the Ebola-like virus has been detected in several types of primates, including patas monkeys, vervet monkeys and baboons.
Experts fear the virus could spread from non-human primates to human cells, potentially causing a major public health problem
Symptoms in humans should mirror those of Ebola: fever, vomiting, organ failure and internal bleeding.
No cases of the virus have been detected in humans, but a new virus that spreads easily could cause a new pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic was caused by a new virus that the human immune system did not recognize.
He added: “Just because we haven’t yet diagnosed human arterivirus infection doesn’t mean no humans have been exposed.” We didn’t search.
The researchers focused their work on a family of viruses called arteriviruses that commonly circulate in pigs and horses but are not well studied in non-human primates.
They focused on the simian hemorrhagic fever virus (SHFV), a type of arterivirus that causes a deadly illness similar to Ebola virus disease.
It was sequenced in 1964 after simultaneous outbreaks in Russian American and Soviet laboratories, possibly due to the introduction of infected African monkeys into captivity.
It has caused deadly epidemics in colonies of macaque monkeys in captivity since the early 1960s.
A wide range of African monkeys carry high viral loads of arteriviruses, often without symptoms. Patas monkeys are thought to be the natural reservoir for SHFV.
No human infection has yet been detected, according to the report published Friday in the scientific journal Cell.
The results were published in the journal Cell.
The ability of the pathogen to multiply rapidly in the body echoes the coronavirus.
Before the winter of 2019, SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, had never been detected in humans.
It was a new virus that is believed to have jumped from bats to an intermediate animal before spreading to humans.
The never-before-seen virus ravaged people’s inexperienced immune systems and spread unabated for months.
The same is possible for another new, highly contagious virus.
“COVID is just the latest in a long line of animal-to-human contagion events, some of which have erupted into global disasters,” Dr Sawyer said.
Covid’s ability to spread so easily among humans without ever being detected before has led many top scientists to question whether it was the result of an accidental leak from a city virology institute to the epicenter of the Covid pandemic, Wuhan.