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Additional Ones Found

Researchers have uncovered additional coronaviruses, including one similar to a coronavirus found in dogs, that may be able to infect humans, NPR reports.

It adds that at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duke University's Gregory Gray pushed his graduate student Leshan Xiu to develop a test that could identify a range of coronaviruses, rather than just one particular coronavirus. As they now report in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the resulting semi-nested RT-PCR assay picked up previously unknown coronaviruses.

The researchers analyzed nasopharyngeal samples obtained from 301 pneumonia patients in Malaysia between 2017 and 2018. Eight of the samples contained canine coronavirus RNA by their test, two of which were then confirmed by single-step RT-PCR analysis. One of those — dubbed CCoV-HuPn-2018 — could infect a canine cell line, and Sanger sequencing revealed it to be a mashup of canine and feline coronaviruses.

Science notes that the virus has not yet been conclusively linked to disease among humans and that there is no evidence that it could spread between people. Still, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' Xumin Zhang adds at NPR that more testing of these and similar viruses are needed to prevent future outbreaks and pandemics.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.