Another strain of coronavirus called SADS-CoV which can be found in infected pigs has the potential to spread to humans, scientists have warned.
The different strain of the virus comes from the same family as SARS-CoV2, or Covid-19, which can replicate within the human airway, and infect the liver and intestinal calls.
The Pork industry could be set for severe economic damage across countries who export the meat.
The University of North Carolina epidemiologists are working on a study over the strains of the deadly virus which is called “alphacoronavirus” which is SADS-CoV whilst SARS-CoV2 is a “betacoronavirus.”
The alphacoronavirus could prove more deadlier, “if not greater” to humans health, one of the authors of the study said in a very grim warning.
Professor Ralph Baric a paper author warned, “Many investigators focus on the emergent potential of the betacoronaviruses like SARS and MERS.
“Actually, the alphacoronaviruses may prove equally prominent, if not greater concerns to human health, given their potential to rapidly jump between species.”
The Professor said they had infected synthetic cells with the virus and were alarmed when they discovered it can replicate itself and also spread.
The researchers warned that the virus cells can mimic human lung and intestine cells which are the most susceptible.
Professor Caitlin Edwards who is another author, said it was “impossible to predict” whether the new pig strain of the virus will infect human populations.
Professor Edwards said, “However, the broad host range of SADS-CoV, coupled with an ability to replicate in primary human lung and enteric cells, demonstrates potential risk for future emergence events in human and animal populations.”
If the virus does spread to humans, the scientists are looking into possible treatments.
Professor Edwards added, “We recommend that both swine workers and the swine population be continually monitored for indications of SADS-CoV infections to prevent outbreaks and massive economic losses.”
The scientific research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.