New Coronavirus Strain in Rodents: Is This the Next Pandemic?

New Coronavirus Strain in Rodents: Is This the Next Pandemic?
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A group of Swedish scientists has found a new coronavirus that is often found in red-backed voles, which are small, dark grey rodents that look like field mice.

A group from Uppsala University’s Zoonosis Science Center did the research, and the results were published in the scientific journal Viruses.  Ake Lundkvist, who is the leader of the center, stated, “Between 2015 and 2017, we consistently found what we have called the ‘Grimso Virus’ in 3.4 percent of these voles, which would suggest that the virus is widespread and common in Sweden’s bank voles.”

About 260 bank voles were caught around Grimso in Sweden’s Orebro County for the study. The study shows that the red-backed voles have the coronavirus.

The Research: What’s Important to know?

  • The research team made maps of zoonotic viruses to learn more about how the viruses affect the animals that host them.
  • Rodents like voles, mice, and rats seem to have spread seasonal coronaviruses like HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1 to humans.
  • This strain of coronavirus is different from the coronaviruses that come from bats, such as SARS-CoV and MERS.
  • RNA sequencing was used by the research team to find a new coronavirus strain called the Grimso Virus. The coronavirus strain is in the betacoronavirus family, which also includes SARS-CoV, MERS, and The coronavirus strain is in the betacoronavirus family, which also includes SARS-CoV, MERS, and SARS-CoV-2.

Should we worry?

Ake Lundkvist said that they still don’t know what risks the Grimso Virus could pose to public health. He did say, though, that based on what they had seen and the fact that coronaviruses had already been found in bank voles, there is good reason to keep an eye on the coronavirus in wild rodents.


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Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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