Scientists have discovered a new coronavirus that appears to have originated in dogs before jumping to humans. If confirmed, it would mark the first canine coronavirus.
While there is no reason to believe it is a serious threat to humans at this moment, scientists say the discovery emphasizes the need to more proactively search for and understand viruses that can originate in animals and jump to humans. Indeed, the virus that caused the current pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, has signs in its DNA indicating that it festered in bats and pangolins before making the jump to humans.
“We are likely missing important animal viruses that are beginning to adapt to humans,” said Gregory C. Gray, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases of the Duke University School of Medicine, in a news release. “We need to conduct such virus discovery work among people with pneumonia and also among people who have intense exposure to animals so that we get early warning of a new virus which may become a future pandemic virus.”