Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Newly Discovered Virus Linked to Childhood Lung Disorders and Kawasaki Disease


A newly discovered virus may be responsible for many respiratory tract illnesses in infants and children, and may be associated with an important multi-organ disease whose cause has remained a mystery for decades, according to articles in the Feb. 15 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online. The virus is one of the numerous coronaviruses, most of which infect animals. In humans, coronaviruses have been known primarily for causing colds or, more recently, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Genetic evidence now suggests that a previously unknown coronavirus may account for some of the many respiratory diseases for which a causative agent is unidentified, and may have a role in Kawasaki disease, the most common cause of acquired heart disease in children in developed countries.

In the first of two studies, Jeffrey S. Kahn and co-workers at Yale University used molecular probes targeting a gene that is common in human and animal coronaviruses to screen hundreds of specimens for coronavirus genetic material. Ultimately, two specimens were identified in which the sequence of chemical building blocks of the gene differed from that of known human coronaviruses. The Yale investigators, terming the novel virus indicated by their findings the New Haven coronavirus, then used probes specific for the virus to screen respiratory specimens from 895 symptomatic children under age 5 who had tested negative for other viral infections. They found 79 (9 percent) who were positive for the new virus, nine of whom were subsequently found to have evidence of recent infection with another virus as well. Of the remaining 67 patients for whom clinical data were available, signs and symptoms of infection with the new virus included fever, cough, runny nose, rapid breathing, abnormal breath sounds, and hypoxia; 35 had an underlying condition, such as prematurity (19 patients). Indeed, 11 of those infected with the new coronavirus were newborns hospitalized in intensive care.

Analysis of the New Haven coronavirus’s genetic structure showed many similarities to that of a coronavirus recently identified by two groups in the Netherlands, suggesting that the virus may have worldwide distribution.

That Kawasaki disease may be associated with infection by the newly identified New Haven coronavirus was suggested by findings in the Yale group’s second study, which was initiated when they found evidence of the virus’s genetic structure in respiratory secretions from an infant with classic signs of Kawasaki disease. In addition to heart disease, the signs can include conjunctivitis, redness of the mouth or throat, rash, redness or swelling of the hands or feet, and swollen cervical lymph nodes. The investigators then analyzed respiratory secretions from 11 children diagnosed with Kawasaki disease and 22 children without the disease. Eight (73 percent) of the Kawasaki patients but only one (5 percent) of the comparison group tested positive for the New Haven coronavirus.

In an accompanying editorial, Kenneth McIntosh of Harvard University commented that discovery of a new human respiratory coronavirus would not be surprising, since studies in the 1960s and 1970s had pointed to a number of novel coronavirus strains but the findings were not adequately followed up because methods to do so were unavailable at the time. The statistically strong association with Kawasaki disease, however, was “quite surprising.” Noting that previous attempts to link Kawasaki disease to bacteria or other viruses had failed and thus justified healthy skepticism about the present findings, Dr. McIntosh pointed out some “tantalizing facts”: onset of Kawasaki disease is often preceded by a respiratory syndrome; both the disease and respiratory coronavirus infections are seasonal, peaking in the winter and spring; recent studies have described a powerful immune response in the respiratory tract and other organs in acute cases of Kawasaki disease, suggesting the involvement of a specific microbe, which may enter the body through the respiratory tract; finally, as the emergence of SARS illustrates, coronaviruses “are capable of enormously varied pathogenicity.” Despite these encouraging preliminary observations, Dr. McIntosh noted that the association between this novel coronavirus and Kawasaki disease will require confirmation by others in larger future investigations.

Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein
22.03.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>