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NIRMAL YESODA

The novel coronavirus that apparently originated from a Wuhan seafood market has already killed more than 1.1 million people, and the total number of positive cases has crossed 37 million. As panic looms up, scientists have warned that a new type of coronavirus that is found in pigs could wreak havoc in the future.

The new coronavirus is being named swine acute diarrhea syndrome coronavirus (SADS-CoV). The study report has been published in the journal PNAS, and this pathogen is capable of infecting humans from piglets.

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In usual cases, SADS-CoV is fatal for young piglets, and they usually develop symptoms such as diarrhoea and vomiting before succumbing themselves to death.

Mukesh Desai, an immunologist at the Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and Nanavati super specialty hospital in Mumbai claimed that this zoonotic virus could pose risk if it starts spreading from pigs to humans.

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“Any zoonotic infection which is fatal for the primary species can be a potential threat to humans if it acquires the ability to jump species specificity and infect humans. Experimental studies suggest the potential for infecting and thriving in human intestinal cell lines and, hence, the possibility of risk of another zoonotic event on hand. We do not know when a mutation in the SADS-CoV may give it the ability to infect humans,” said Desai, while talking exclusively to News9.

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During the talk, Desai also warned that this new type of coronavirus could emerge as another high-risk pathogen, as it has a broad host range, and the ability to drastically multiply in human lung and gut cells.