Deadly Respiratory Infection Took Hold in Bats, Study Says

Deadly Respiratory Infection Took Hold in Bats, Study Says

FRIDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new and deadly respiratory virus in the Middle East was present in bats for a long time before making the leap to humans, a new study indicates.

To learn more about the origins of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), researchers analyzed the genomes of seven bat species. They found that bat DPP4 genes showed signs of significant adaptation, which suggests that bats have been trying to fight the virus for a long time.

Previous research has shown that MERS uses the DPP4 receptor to enter cells.

The researchers also analyzed the genomes of a number of other mammals and found that the DPP4 genes in bats were under more pressure, with mutations occurring at a faster rate.

This indicates that MERS not only originated in bats but also evolved over an extended length of time in bats before making the jump to infect humans, possibly moving between bats and humans through another species.

The study was published online Oct. 10 in the Virology Journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about MERS.

SOURCE: Virology Journal, news release, Oct. 10, 2013

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss, women’s services and walk-in medical care. Search for nursing jobs, and health classes and events. Find doctors affiliated with Bayhealth Medical Center or a Delaware hospital near you.