Scientists have isolated a Europe-based virus associated with world’s deadliest viruses and averted a potential pandemic threat, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications. The new study also offers insights on improved research in the areas of ecology and virology against potential virus outbreaks. The study also reveals that viruses are not only confined to a single location as previously thought.
Researchers from the Medway School of Pharmacy collaborated with the universities of Greenwich and Kent to participate in isolation of the so-called Lloviu virus (LLOV). LLOV is a close relative of the Ebola virus. As per the study, the researchers isolated the infectious LLOV from Schreiber’s bats in Hungary. In 2002, the LLOV was initially identified through its genetic material from the same bats in Spain.
The LLOV belongs to the filovirus family, whose members include the Ebola virus and Marburg virus, where its cases have been initially reported in Africa. Dr. Simon Scott, a member of the Viral Pseudotye Unit (VPU), the Medway School of Pharmacy said, “It is still important for the research team to determine the viruses’ distribution to be prepared for potential epidemics and pandemics.”
LLOV is reported of interest to public health worldwide given the increasingly close proximity between animals and humans, as the latter has its settlement for several centuries, occupying animal habitats and ecosystems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that zoonotic disease are highly common not only across the United States but also globally. This is based on estimations by scientists that over six out of every 10 known diseases can be spread from animals to humans.
Meanwhile, the CDC adds that three out of every four emerging or new infectious diseases can still be transmitted from animals to humans. The most recent and widespread among them is COVID-19.