Researchers of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine have clarified the infection strategy of a recently identified virus that causes severe diarrheal disease in piglets. They discovered the ‘receptor’ protein on the host cell to which the virus binds to initiate infection, and found a possible mechanism of virus transmission from pigs to other species.
The recently identified virus is the porcine deltacoronavirus. Coronaviruses can cause mild to severe respiratory and enteric disease in animals and humans. Some coronaviruses, such as the SARS- and the MERS-coronavirus, can jump from animals to humans, with sometimes lethal outcome. Cross-species transmission of coronaviruses is dependent on the ability of these viruses to bind the receptor protein on the new host cell.