The start of a new pandemic threat ? A new virus, from the family of arterivirus – already endemic in African monkeys – could be “about to spread” in humans, according to a study by University of Colorado researchers published Sept. 30 in the journal Cell. The virus causes deadly and devastating Ebola-like symptoms such as fever, fluid retention in body tissues, anorexia or internal bleeding. In infected monkeys, it is fatal in most cases within two weeks of infection.
Like HIV, another well-known virus that was also born in African monkeys, the arterivirus hijacks the immune system, deactivates the main defense mechanisms and breaks down the body, cell by cell, settling in the long-term organization.
“This virus has figured out how to gain access to human cells, multiply and evade some important immune mechanisms that we expect to protect ourselves from an animal virus, that’s pretty rare.”, said professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology Sara Sawyer, lead author of the study. “We have to pay attention to it.”
A virus to watch out for
Whether no cases have yet been diagnosed and formalized in humans, researchers cannot guarantee that no human has been in contact with (…)
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