Identifying SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins

Nature. 2020 Jul;583(7815):282-285. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2169-0. Epub 2020 Mar 26.

Abstract

The ongoing outbreak of viral pneumonia in China and across the world is associated with a new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-21. This outbreak has been tentatively associated with a seafood market in Wuhan, China, where the sale of wild animals may be the source of zoonotic infection2. Although bats are probable reservoir hosts for SARS-CoV-2, the identity of any intermediate host that may have facilitated transfer to humans is unknown. Here we report the identification of SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses in Malayan pangolins (Manis javanica) seized in anti-smuggling operations in southern China. Metagenomic sequencing identified pangolin-associated coronaviruses that belong to two sub-lineages of SARS-CoV-2-related coronaviruses, including one that exhibits strong similarity in the receptor-binding domain to SARS-CoV-2. The discovery of multiple lineages of pangolin coronavirus and their similarity to SARS-CoV-2 suggests that pangolins should be considered as possible hosts in the emergence of new coronaviruses and should be removed from wet markets to prevent zoonotic transmission.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Betacoronavirus / chemistry
  • Betacoronavirus / classification
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Chiroptera / virology
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Disease Reservoirs / virology
  • Eutheria / virology*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genome, Viral / genetics*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Malaysia
  • Pandemics
  • Phylogeny
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / chemistry
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics
  • Zoonoses / virology

Substances

  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2