Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Common cold virus came from birds

20.11.2008
A virus that causes cold-like symptoms in humans originated in birds and may have crossed the species barrier around 200 years ago, according to an article published in the December issue of the Journal of General Virology. Scientists hope their findings will help us understand how potentially deadly viruses emerge in humans.

"Human metapneumovirus may be the second most common cause of lower respiratory infection in young children. Studies have shown that by the age of five, virtually all children have been exposed to the virus and re-infections appear to be common," said Professor Dr Fouchier. "We have identified sites on some virus proteins that we can monitor to help identify future dominant strains of the virus."

Human metapneumovirus is related to the respiratory syncytial virus, measles, mumps and parainfluenza viruses. It infects people of all ages but is most common in children under five. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Infection can also lead to more severe illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, which can result in hospitalisation, especially in infants and immunocompromised patients. HMPV infection is most common during the winter and it is believed to cause up to 10% of respiratory illnesses in children.

"HMPV was first discovered in 2001, but studies have shown that the virus has been circulating in humans for at least 50 years," said Professor Dr Ron Fouchier from ErasmusMC in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. "HMPV is closely related to Avian metapneumovirus C (AMPV-C), which infects birds. Because of the similarity, scientists have suggested that HMPV emerged from a bird virus that crossed the species barrier to infect humans."

Metapneumoviruses have high evolutionary rates, similar to those of other RNA viruses such as influenza, hepatitis C and SARS. By understanding the evolution and emergence of these viruses the scientists hope to develop ways of monitoring and predicting the emergence of new pathogenic viruses.

"We investigated the evolutionary history of metapneumoviruses using genetic information available for numerous strains of HMPV and AMPV-C circulating in humans and birds," said Professor Dr Fouchier. "We calculated that the moment of divergence between HMPV and AMPV-C occurred approximately 200 years ago. Therefore, HMPV probably originates from an AMPV-C like virus that crossed the species barrier to infect humans around that time."

"Besides the evolutionary history of metapneumoviruses, we also investigated the mutation rates and the selection pressures of these viruses. An understanding of how viruses evolve and how they adapt to new hosts and their immune systems is important, especially if we are to prepare for new, potentially pandemic diseases."

Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

nachricht Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>