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      Novel Canine Coronavirus Isolated from a Hospitalized Pneumonia Patient, East Malaysia

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          During the validation of a highly sensitive pan-species coronavirus (CoV) semi-nested RT-PCR assay, we found canine CoV (CCoV) RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs from eight (2.5%) of 301 patients hospitalized with pneumonia during 2017-18 in Sarawak, Malaysia. Most patients were children living in rural areas with frequent exposure to domesticated animals and wildlife.


          Specimens were further studied with universal and species-specific CoV and CCoV one-step RT-PCR assays, and viral isolation was performed in A72 canine cells. Complete genome sequencing was conducted using Sanger method.


          Two of eight specimens contained sufficient amounts of CCoVs as confirmed by less-sensitive single-step RT-PCR assays, and one specimen demonstrated cytopathic effects (CPE) in A72 cells. Complete genome sequencing of the virus causing CPE identified it as a novel canine-feline recombinant alphacoronavirus (genotype II) that we named CCoV-HuPn-2018. Most of CCoV-HuPn-2018 genome is more closely related to a CCoV TN-449, while its S gene shared significantly higher sequence identity with CCoV-UCD-1 (S1 domain) and a feline CoV WSU 79-1683 (S2 domain). CCoV-HuPn-2018 is unique for a 36 nt (12-aa) deletion in the N protein and the presence of full-length and truncated 7b non-structural protein which may have clinical relevance.


          This is the first report of a novel canine-feline recombinant alphacoronavirus isolated from a human pneumonia patient. If confirmed as a pathogen, it may represent the eighth unique coronavirus known to cause disease in humans. Our findings underscore the public health threat of animal CoVs and a need to conduct better surveillance for them.

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          Author and article information

          Clinical Infectious Diseases
          Oxford University Press (OUP)
          May 20 2021
          May 20 2021
          [1 ]Food Animal Health Research Program, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, The Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio, USA
          [2 ]Department of Immunology and Molecular Biology, School of Biomedical and Laboratory Sciences, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
          [3 ]The Ohio State University Global One Health LLC, Eastern Africa Regional Office, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
          [4 ]Division of Infectious Diseases, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina, USA
          [5 ]Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
          [6 ]NHC Key Laboratory of Systems Biology of Pathogens, Institute of Pathogen Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China
          [7 ]Clinical Research Center, Sibu Hospital, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia
          [8 ]Faculty of Medicine, SEGi University, Kota Damansara, Selangor, Malaysia
          [9 ]Global Health Research Center, Duke Kunshan University, Kunshan, China
          [10 ]Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
          © 2021


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