I saw this article a few days ago and I’m finally posting it. An investigation in to the origin of SARS has turned up some important clues about how the virus may have made the leap from another species to humans. The researchers identified methods of interspecies transmissions by investigating live-animal markets in Shenzhen, China, right over the border from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR).
Specifically, they found similar versions of a coronavirus in a cat-like species, humans, and a raccoon-dog and badger ferret.
Swabs from two Himalayan palm civets, members of a cat-like family, turned up a coronavirus resembling one that is carried by many humans but does no harm, scientists at the University of Hong Kong report in the Sept. 5 issue of Science. The virus was also found in a raccoon-dog and a ferret badger from the same market, and in some employees at the market.
The concept here is that we know that coronaviruses are mutable, says Dr Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center and author of The Secret Life of Germs.. But it was not known previously that animal and human strains could recombine to become more profoundly infective that the human strains we knew in the past.
They also implore governments and NGOs to maintain their watchful stance, as there is an expectation among the World Health Organization that SARS may re-emerge this winter and become a seasonal disease, like influenza.