From dog to human? Dogs can become carriers of a new influenza virus. As the researchers report, the combination of canine influenza and H1N1 swine flu in quadrupeds has created a potentially dangerous pathogenic strain for humans. Their experiments suggest that this new virus has at least the potential to leap into human hosts and spread rapidly.
Again and again caused by mutations of new influenza virus strains that are dangerous to humans. These forms of flu usually originate in animals. In recent years, strains of birds that are actually birds have repeatedly infected human hosts – and even the so-called "swine flu" has gained the ability to jump to humans by exchanging some genes.
Now, researchers warn that our proverbial best friends in this context can also pose a risk: dogs. The team led by Daesub Song of the University of Korea in Seoul noted that a new influenza virus could emerge from, among others, Asia and the United States, distributing canine influenza virus (H1N1) and swine flu "This pathogenic strain, identified in a dog in 2012 and called VIVVV, can also be dangerous to humans, as the experiments suggest.
New line of pathogens
To find out how great the new tribe's potential is to jump to humans, Song and his colleagues conducted investigations with ferrets. The reason: influenza viruses dock in their host cells through certain receptors on their surface. Because the receptors on ferrets and humans are very similar, animals are considered reliable models for risk assessment.
The experiments revealed that ferrets infected with the virus had the same symptoms as sick dogs – from respiratory problems to coughing, loss of appetite and lethargy. In addition, it was found that the pathogen in the ferrets rapidly multiplied and spread from animal to animal faster than other influenza viruses. According to the scientists, this means that although CIVmv is very similar to the canine H1N1 avian virus originally derived from avian H3N2, the risk of human infection in this line of pathogens could be much higher.
"Dogs were neglected as hosts of new pathogenic strains in the flu research so far," says Song. He argues in the light of his observations to watch the flu viruses in pets, like the four legs, more and more. Many people are in closer contact with dogs than with chickens or pigs, as the scientist points out. Therefore, the risk is particularly high that arises from the new four-legged strains that infect humans and that one day may even be transmitted from person to person.
However, the focus of the research team is not just dogs. As it turned out, cats can also be affected by canine flu. Based on these animal companions of humans, potentially new pathogenic strains that are dangerous to humans could therefore develop. "Canine influenza can mix with human influenza viruses and ultimately lead to new pandemics," Song concludes. (Society of Microbiology, 2019)
Source: Society for Microbiology