"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
Hidden dynamics detected in neuronal networks
23.07.2019 | Forschungszentrum Juelich
Towards a light driven molecular assembler
23.07.2019 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Augsburg chemists and physicists report how they have succeeded in the extremely difficult separation of hydrogen and deuterium in a gas mixture.
Thanks to the Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology developed here and already widely used, the University of Augsburg is internationally recognized as the...
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.
In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
23.07.2019 | Life Sciences
23.07.2019 | Life Sciences
23.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy