(Here are the links to that paper in case you needed it asap.) The study was based on the sequencing of DNA from a viral RNA virus called DENV-1 or DENV, which causes the common cold. (If you’ve got a little bit of flu , you should consult the following book to learn about what is the disease: The Story of the Flu Viruses: The Science, the Scares, and the Heroin .) DENV-1 has been identified as the cause of this disease, and a lot of other diseases have already been associated with the virus. (My colleagues and I have come up with a list of related diseases and illnesses which you might find useful, if you feel so inclined.) This new, new virus is not very similar to DENV. Most infections with it are caused by coughing up blood, not coughing up blood and then coughing up blood again. But is this the only type of flu virus out right now? Only a few people have found the “new” SARS virus and have been able to isolate the protein it forms. It is extremely rare. I know of only one human isolate. (I’ve shared a few pictures of it for you below.) Some people were able to isolate and isolate the virus, which should give us pretty good ideas as to what to look for in isolating this virus. The new virus is only found in Asian horseshoe bats , the Asian bats found mostly in China, the northern region of India, and parts of Southeast Asia. The Indian bats have never before had to deal with the risk of this virus , which is how this work came to be. They now face the threat of getting sick with something else that could be dangerous to them later. This is a very serious threat to them, since bats are responsible for more than 60% of all of India’s arboviral infections. How did this strain of this virus get there? We don’t yet know the answer to that, but the last part of the question is perhaps more important: Why did it get into these bats? The exact reason has been debated, but I am more interested in the question “what is the risk in humans?”
As a general rule, when you have a new virus, you can assume that it will get into humans, and when it does, its probability increases. If that is the case with this new SARS virus, I think that the probability of its entering humans is pretty low, if it didn’t already end up there. It is not even as rare as some have thought. The SARS virus has already entered a handful of bats that have already been infected. (For more on those bats and their infection, this link will give you the details in detail.) If this new SARS virus has already passed into bats, when will it end up in humans, and why (it doesn’t have a pretty name, but it’s the least common type of virus in all of arboviruses) .
One other possibility is that the new virus itself could pose a dangerous threat, to humans. But anytime a new strain of a virus is discovered in humans, it’s most likely to be the last new strain. The last common type of virus that gets into us is called a serogroup B virus. Serogroup C, however, can actually start out as a very common virus, such as the common cold virus. A new “common” virus? Not very common. And if that makes you nervous, you would probably have a much higher chance of contracting a cold from another serogroup. But there have been some problems with other serogroups. If there are other viruses similar to the new SARS virus out there, then I expect that this virus could cause problems that it hasn’t already, since it wasn’t there the first time around. It could have caused other outbreaks in humans over time!
I spent yesterday and today trying to study a little bit of the basic science, in order to work out exactly why this new virus came into being. Most of the scientists who participated with me are pretty knowledgeable about how this virus works and the genetics and virus biology of this virus. So I want to just summarize what I learned that I think is likely to be a little interesting to some “newbie” scientists.
We know that the gene family represented by the SARS gene is pretty similar to the group of genes that you find in most arbovirus families. It’s pretty similar to the genes you find in many viruses, including the virus that caused the AIDS virus, and some other viruses. Most of the scientists I talked to noted that this is common knowledge, and it provides them with some support for their hypothesis about this new type of virus