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How the Newly Discovered Canine-like Coronavirus CCoV-HuPn-2018 Infects Humans Remains a Mystery

July 30, 2021

By: Anfal “Fulla” Abdelgadir

Earlier this year, Dr. Anastasia Vlasova of Ohio State University isolated and characterized a novel canine–feline recombinant alphacoronavirus (genotype II) in archived human nasopharyngeal swabs collected by Duke One Health researchers. This was the first virus of its kind found to possibly infect humans. Normally such viruses would not be able to infect human cells. A member of the Duke team, Anfal “Fulla” Abdelgadir, MSc, guided by Dr. Vlasova, assessed the receptivity of different common animal and human cell lines to this novel canine coronavirus, CCoV-HuPn-2018, in comparison to another canine coronavirus, CCoV-UCD1.

In this study, adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial cells (A549), human lung fibroblast cell line (MRC-5), Madin–Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, African green monkey kidney epithelial cells (VeroE6), pig testis cells (ST), and mink lung epithelial cells (Mv1Lu) were inoculated with the different coronaviruses and assessed for 192 hours. Virus replication and cytopathic effect was evaluated and compared to that seen in canine fibroblast tumor cells (A72). No increase in viral replication was observed in the MDCK, ST, A549, MRC-5, Mv1Lu, and VeroE6 cells even after 192-h post-inoculation, suggesting that these cell lines are not permissive for CCoV-HuPn-2018 and CCoV-UCD1.

Microscopic images of uninfected cells (right column) and infected cells (left column) with the novel canine coronavirus CCoV-HuPn-2018, as included in the paper.

How this novel virus infected humans remains a bit of a mystery. Dr. Vlasova and other collaborators are planning additional studies to try to understand CCoV-HuPn-2018 infection pathways such that effective treatments may be designed.

The full article can be found here.

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