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New SARS-Like Virus Infects Both Human and Animal Cells

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the two-for-the-price-of-one dept.

Medicine 62

sciencehabit writes "A SARS-like virus discovered this summer in the Middle East may infect more than just humans. The pathogen, a close cousin to the one that caused the 2002 to 2003 SARS outbreak, may also be able to infect cells from pigs and a wide range of bat species, researchers report today (abstract). The findings may help public health officials track the source of the outbreak and identify the role of wild animals and livestock in spreading the virus, researchers say."

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In summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42255909)

So to summarize: if we don't stop this supervirus, we won't have any bacon anymore. Oh, and we might also be dead.

Re:In summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256097)

At least we can hope it kills off the Greys and Reptilians too. Humanities demise is a small price to pay to destroy those fuckers and save the universe from their eternal spread.

Re:In summary (1)

anomaly256 (1243020) | about 2 years ago | (#42257897)

Don't be so naive. They're the ones who created it. I researched it too and I say this may be true. It may also be a terrorist and may be responsible for the GFC.

Re:In summary (1)

ButchDeLoria (2772751) | about 2 years ago | (#42259793)

Virus did 9/11.

Re:In summary (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 2 years ago | (#42262357)

Yes, in fact this could be The End of All Multicellular Life On Earth!

Question for this crowd (3, Interesting)

dorpus (636554) | about 2 years ago | (#42255927)

I am a statistician. In light of this year's early flu epidemic, I am tasked with modeling ER flu counts as a function of time.

When I plot the residual graph (observed - expected), I get upward spikes lasting about a week, corresponding to epidemics of particular strains. But there are also downward spikes lasting about a week. They occur at random, independent of the upward spikes. So what do I call such downward spikes? I've searched around but there is no antonym for "epidemic".

Re:Question for this crowd (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#42256009)

Academic?

Humans and animals? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 years ago | (#42256251)

New SARS-Like Virus Infects Both Human and Animal Cells

umm, earth to scientists, humans ARE animals! Duplicative much? Department of redundancy department!

Re:Study it long...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257119)

""wide range of bat species""

From what I read a few weeks ago scientists believe that it is in fact from Bats. The other problem I have with this, is how researchers are so amp'd anymore to get there names in history or to get credit for finding a new virus that is more then likely native to the area, and may not even be a virus.

Yes I am aware of the people who were ill from this and died, but they yet to even figure out how it developed, or what part or the country it originated from.

Re:Question for this crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256025)

Less epidemic than before?

Just looking at the root of the terms and origin of epidemic it really doesn't seem to make sense in this case.
Would be like being having a word for being exposed to negative radiation, deradiate is not a word.

I would keep it in staticical terms personally. Downtrend.

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about 2 years ago | (#42256319)

>> I get upward spikes lasting about a week, corresponding to epidemics of particular strains. But there are also downward spikes lasting about a week. They occur at random, independent of the upward spikes

What do you mean with 'random'? Do you think that it might be prove that God does play dice after all?
If yes... all I can say is that I always thought that Einstein was wrong... But now there seems to be conclusive prove!
Oh...
wait...
what?

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about 2 years ago | (#42256369)

I'd call them a "pedantic" after their discoverer.

Re:Question for this crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256397)

My guess is it's IBNR (probably not the term to use, but look it up and you'll get the gist) rather than a genuine fall off in counts. If it corresponded to a phase in an epidemic when immunity due to past infections impedes new infections or any something like that, then you would expect a lagged correlation with the upward spikes.

Check for correlation between the down spikes and seasonal spikes in pollen and mold spore counts.People who have allergies or expect to have allergies may not recognize that they have the flu. If you can think of any other factor that might cause people to be less likely to recognize that they have the flu, check that as well.

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

dorpus (636554) | about 2 years ago | (#42256487)

>My guess is it's IBNR (probably not the term to use, but look it up and you'll get the gist) rather than a genuine fall off in counts.

Thanks, I looked it up. As for doubting a genuine fall-off, the same logic could be used to argue against the existence of upward spikes. And who knows, maybe "flu epidemics" are really just mass hysteria. But if I made such an assertion, I would have my sanity as a scientist questioned. ;)

>Check for correlation between the down spikes and seasonal spikes in pollen and mold spore counts.

Good point, I'll check that also. There is a new paper that found a link between humidity and flu counts. I'm in the process of acquiring local historic weather data.

Heat mapping and the human factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256639)

Pardon my lack of login. Have you tried looking at more dimensional data? If flu propagation is graphed not just over time, but over area via a heat map, perhaps some correlation can be ascertained. As a simple example, if the spread was a slow wave from area to area and it hits where the populace are less likely to seek medical treatment (lower income/lower rate of insurance), there may be no additional observed cases despite the disease continuing to spread. Once the wave of propagation leaves this region (which in the heat map will be a blind spot in the data at best) the observed cases will return to normal levels.

I have not found any granular data that could help. Some people are trying to do this with twitter. [yahoo.com] Though I would hope you could get general demographic information of the area served by the hospitals you get the observation data from and map it out on a much more detailed level than Google flu trends [google.org] or flu.gov powered by Healthmap [healthmap.org] . Just go ahead and look at that last one of global indications. It is clear that flu could be spreading through areas without adequate healthcare and no one would know it.

Re:Heat mapping and the human factor (1)

dorpus (636554) | about 2 years ago | (#42256823)

Hmm, interesting. So it spreads from zip code to zip code, but sometimes to places where there are fewer children. (We get plenty of low-income, uninsured children since we are a Catholic hospital system.)

I do know the detailed street addresses of patients, so it may come in handy at some point.

Re:Question for this crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42257083)

Upward spikes make sense given that you expect flu propagation across a social network which is going to have a small number of people who have contact with a lot of other people. I would expect the rate of propagation to be proportional to the number of non-immune or already infected people that the currently infected people have contact with, with an additional factor based influenced by any precautions they take. Once the flu reaches a kid in daycare suddenly it can spread much much faster since you have a lot of kids together who don't take any precautions and then they all take it home.

Re:Question for this crowd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256471)

I'm sorry, but I see a lot of problems with your statement/question (as somebody who's worked in one of the busiest emerg departments in my country and now works in health information technology).

The first would be to assume that there's a "flu epidemic." Depending on your geographic location you may have had one, or may not have been party to it. The second would be in trying to model emerg department behaviours. It's like trying to predict the stock market, and with the exception of a few very strong trends (ruptured globes on Halloween, dehydration in the afternoon/evening of a hot summer day, etc), there's risk in assuming the past reflects the future (or visa versa). I would not assume that because an event does not correlate with the data you have, that it's random and/or independent (I'll provide an example later). And, conversely, I'd bear in mind that correlation doesn't equal causation.

Thesaurus dot com lists antonyms depending on interpretation, but emerg departments usually track incidents or visits (and in terms of workload with regards to patients per nurse/doctor) so you may want to change the terminology from epidemic to increased and decreased loads associated with contagions (just my two bits).

Anywho, an example as to why you can't assume the decreases in flu related traffic are independent and random I'll refer to my own emerg experience. One of the larger trends that seems to show up every xmas season is families dropping off elderly relatives and saying that they are unable to cope. I don't know why, and I couldn't even guess. But, if the elderly are a vulnerable population and significant numbers were placed in care, then they would be not be making visits to the emergency department while in care (just an example, I'm sure there are many possible correlations). Of course, I'm speaking of my own context and experience, but the point is you can't dismiss what you can't explain.

Oh well, there's my two bits, I hope (at least some of it) it helps.

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#42256505)

I am a statistician. In light of this year's early flu epidemic, I am tasked with modeling ER flu counts as a function of time.

When I plot the residual graph (observed - expected), I get upward spikes lasting about a week, corresponding to epidemics of particular strains. But there are also downward spikes lasting about a week. They occur at random, independent of the upward spikes. So what do I call such downward spikes? I've searched around but there is no antonym for "epidemic".

First of all, I don't think it's really fair that you were moderated off-topic, your comment is as close to topic as most. I quoted the full message so that more people will see it.

That said, I would first check the size of the population against the duration of the downward spikes. If the population is small enough relative to the size of the health care infrastructure you would expect the downward spikes to gradually get longer as the population builds immunity to the virus.

As for naming the downward spikes, I've never heard a standard name for it. Dwell, lag, or recovery might be reasonable? I presume those times don't represent a total of zero patients coming in, but rather far fewer patients, so it is only downward on a relative basis any ways...

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

dorpus (636554) | about 2 years ago | (#42256537)

Thank you. I work for a medical center and the counts are for a children's emergency room. So the at-risk population is constant.

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#42256695)

I figured being you are a statistician you would make the necessary corrections, but it is easy to overlook some of the population adjustments you need to make for something like this. I guess you nee to decide whether or not the population of children who could potentially be infected is large enough in comparison to the spread of the virus to be considered truly constant, as of course no child should be infected more than once (assuming only one strain is passing through your area). Hence of course if the starting population was X, and Y were vaccinated, you then have a vulnerable population (X-Y), which should decrease over time as more people are infected and develop immunity.

Our of curiosity, what percent of the infected population are you assuming are being brought in to the hospital? That should figure in to your numbers and your model as well...

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

dorpus (636554) | about 2 years ago | (#42256775)

We have no way of knowing anything at that level of detail -- what percent of the population as a whole was infected, how many were vaccinated. The government does not have such information either. What you describe is for hypothetical simulations. I'm just working with ER managers to enable efficient resource allocation: how many flu patients do we expect today? Where are we relative to seasonal baseline?

Re:Question for this crowd (3, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#42256885)

We have no way of knowing anything at that level of detail

True, though based on the situation you may be able to estimate some of them fairly well.

what percent of the population as a whole was infected

If you are the only hospital in the area, you can presume that all the severe cases are coming to you. You could then presume that a certain percent of infections are severe enough to warrant hospitalization and estimate the total infected from that. Obviously not a perfect number but a useful one nonetheless.

how many were vaccinated

This one also varies with the population pool you are dealing with. If you are the primary source of vaccination then you have a pretty good idea of how many are vaccinated. On the other hand if you have 20 clinics in your area, plus 4 drugs stores and 2 discount retailers that all do vaccination as well, then your numbers won't describe the vaccination rate well on their own.

The government does not have such information either

Correct. Of course, you do know who makes the vaccines, and you could use their numbers as a high limit for vaccinated people across the country.

What you describe is for hypothetical simulations.

Hypothetical situations are described to make models for the real world when real world data is not sufficient.

I'm just working with ER managers to enable efficient resource allocation:

Which is very important work as well. I'm just suggesting you may be able to get some reasonable estimates of the bigger picture from not a lot more data and work.

how many flu patients do we expect today? Where are we relative to seasonal baseline?

Also worth knowing. And with some additional work you should be able to project fairly well where you are on the trajectory, as well (unless, of course, you are one hospital in a community of millions, at which point the numbers likely break down).

In other words, I think what you describe is very interesting. I'm just suggesting that for many cases you may be able to use it to model some things that you had not (yet) described. I'm an informatics guy, I enjoy mining data like that...

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 2 years ago | (#42260717)

Have you looked for correlations with school holidays and the presence or absence of school events that increase the likelihood of transmissions between cohorts? For instance, among high school students, dead weeks preceding end of term tests may decrease the usual amount of mingling between students of different schools and delay transmission of the virus. Similarly, there could be fluctuations in transmission opportunities related to the success or failure of a school team's advancement in semi-final competitions (teams that are losing generally attract fewer students to their "away" games, decreasing transmission opportunities for a virus).

I would expect to see some negative correlation between new cases and these kinds of events, with a time delay related to the incubation period of the virus.

School principals could provide some rough data on events that would affect exposures of their students to students of other schools.

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#42257229)

I wouldn't call an upward spike an "epidemic". Rather I'd use language like "surge" and "retreat", or maybe "surge" and "stall" would be better (since a disease which isn't infecting new cases declines either through victims developing resistance or the deaths of the victims).

Re:Question for this crowd (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42262513)

It scars me that you are doing statistics of an epidemic, but don't understand what epidemic is.

Seriously dude, you can't be good at your job.

It's like trying to find what the antonym of earthquake is.

Only a matter of time.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42255937)

before the strain develops into a zombie virus. The Zombie Apocalypse is coming..... be warned.

first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42255939)

Who engineered that?

(would have been first but I got timed out for a while.)

cpt. obv? (2, Informative)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#42255973)

Virus Infects Both Human and Animal Cells

well, last I checked, humans were animals?

Re:cpt. obv? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256151)

WHOOSH!

Captain obvious here! Just wanted to point out that the article authors means "both human and nonhuman animal cells"!

WHOOSH!

Re:cpt. obv? (2)

treeves (963993) | about 2 years ago | (#42258109)

Of course, you realize that in context, 'animal' means 'non-human animal', but you still had to be pedantic.

Re:cpt. obv? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#42259275)

well, last I checked, humans were animals?

That's the residuum of monotheistic creationism in people's thinking for you. ;-) No, we're special! We have souls and animals don't! Well, people still haven't learned to think in those terms. Old habits die hard.

Batman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42255983)

may infect more than just humans. The pathogen may also be able to infect cells from pigs and a wide range of bat species

Oh Noes! Batmans in double trouble!

Re:Batman (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#42257305)

may infect more than just humans. The pathogen may also be able to infect cells from pigs and a wide range of bat species

Oh Noes! Batmans in double trouble!

Actually this is pretty scary. Bats are one of the best carriers of disease because of their communal lifestyle and the fact they can cover many miles a night. The point that wasn't made strong enough is it infected every tissue sample they tried it on so far. This has pandemic written all over it. It's still localized and it has yet to break out but if it does it could infect tens of millions. Hard to say the mortality rate but it could be high. We're due for another pandemic so every source like this needs to be watched closely.

Say what you mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42258067)

Bat-shit scary.

Re:Batman (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42264635)

Bats are one of the best carriers of disease

They are also the best at getting rid of other carriers of disease, like mosquitos. Bats eat many times their weight in insects every single night. Get rid of bats and you have a whole lot of people dying from all the diseases that mosquitos carry.

I'll take bats over mosquitos any day. The only disease a bat carries that can affect humans is rabies (a bat with this new virus won't infect anyone), and how many rabid bats have been found this year? Now, how many people have died from mosquito-bourne illnesses?

You FAIL it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256111)

That is very rapid publication (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#42256233)

The full text (available for free from anywhere - hooray for open access!)) states that the patient reported in June of this year. Paper was submitted on October 24, accepted November 1, and published November 20.

This also shows how good next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have become. They were able to sequence and assemble an entire virus genome in ~4 months or (likely) less, from a single infected human.

Just in time for 12/21/12 (1)

peoples_champion (2664783) | about 2 years ago | (#42256259)

The world ending is near....

Re:Just in time for 12/21/12 (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#42257837)

I'll kinda miss that meme :( But I'm sure a suitable replacement will be found.

Re:Just in time for 12/21/12 (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42263589)

But I'm sure a suitable replacement will be found.

It's inevitable. The end of the world is always near, and someone always knows the date. This year it was the Mayan calendar, a few ears ago it was some nutball preacher who claimed to have figured it out from the bible despite the fact that the bible says Jesus doesn't even know. A coupld of years earlier it was the same nutball, who said he must have made a math error when the world didn't end. Then there was Y2K and the people who thought aliens would take them if they cut their balls off. In 1966 folks thought that the end of the world was June 6th of that year. The Green Mile (book, not movie) set in 1932 spoke of an apocalyptic date. Look it up in wikipedia and it seems that "the world ends this year" comes quite often.

The thing is, all of these predictions are right. On December 21 it will be the end of the world -- for somebody. A lot of somebodies. But not for most of us.

The big question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256403)

Does it infect Cylons?

Found in the middle east? (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42256461)

What better place to test the virus you engineered on human subjects!

Human and animal cells? (1)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | about 2 years ago | (#42256469)

New SARS-Like Virus Infects Both Human and Animal Cells

So what the fuck are we? Vegetables?

That must be wormwood. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42256495)

It's all Harry Dresden's fault, clumsy fool.

Newsflash... (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#42256591)

... Humans ARE animals, you idiotic dipshits.

Bad news for pigs (1)

relikx (1266746) | about 2 years ago | (#42256669)

In Islamic culture pigs are considered unclean, and I remember when swine flu hit in '09 places like Egypt culled pig herds. In this case I'm pretty sure the end result won't be good but there's even more reason to think they're doing good by killing lots of swine, and without making bacon even.

Re:Bad news for pigs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42264663)

Strange, if they don't eat pigs what do they have them for, Pets. Or maybe they use them like the show Deadwood, to get rid of the guy you just murdered.

Awareness! (1)

SnappyCanvas (2769761) | about 2 years ago | (#42256773)

This is something people should be aware of especially if it concerns their health! This post will surely deliver them the message and what they need to know and learn about it! Thank you for sharing.

Re:Awareness! (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42264105)

Spammer spotted.

Impressive amount of work you put into it.

End of the world? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 2 years ago | (#42256811)

This virus has a few days left to make the Maya end of the world prediction come true. Hurry up!

I guess ... (2)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42257695)

... its time to quit having sex with the livestock.

Re:I guess ... (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#42258595)

How else do you think AIDS made the jump from monkeys to humans?

Re:I guess ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42258943)

Because people eat monkeys perhaps?

That sex with monkeys being where HIV comes from is actually thought to be major bullshit, and it has more to do with the fact that people eat monkeys.

Re:I guess ... (1)

Xest (935314) | about 2 years ago | (#42259511)

Anonymous cowards eat the humour out of threads as well sadly.

Re:I guess ... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42265767)

From what I've read, it came from an African tribe that considered monkey brain to be a delacacy. AIDS is not really an STD, it's a blood-bourne virus. It's a lot easier to get AIDS in a knife fight than it is from sex. If you're butchering a monkey and you have a cut on your hand, guess what? You got AIDS!

Humans AND Animals? (1)

brillow (917507) | about 2 years ago | (#42257777)

How about "animals including humans"?

Re:Humans AND Animals? (1)

treeves (963993) | about 2 years ago | (#42258117)

How about no more comments pointing out that humans are animals? (1) Context (2) Duh.

On MARS? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#42257987)

What, Curiosity found a virus on Mars? I hear it causes dyslexia.

Bioweapon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42258349)

Given the state of Iran's client country of Syria, it's possible that this is a Russian developed bioweapon from Syria, in a trial run.

Oh noes, not again, everybody panic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42259501)

So, is it that time of the year already huh?, how much longer is stupid people going believe this crap?, come on, do they really don't see it?

humans AND animals? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#42259769)

Infects Both Human and Animal Cells? What are you trying to say? Quick: How old is the Earth? Checkmate, Christian!
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