-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Oct. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A new and deadly respiratory
virus in the Middle East was present in bats for a long time before
making the leap to humans, a new study indicates.
To learn more about the origins of the Middle East respiratory
syndrome (MERS), researchers analyzed the genomes of seven bat
species. They found that bat DPP4 genes showed signs of significant
adaptation, which suggests that bats have been trying to fight the
virus for a long time.
Previous research has shown that MERS uses the DPP4 receptor to
The researchers also analyzed the genomes of a number of other
mammals and found that the DPP4 genes in bats were under more
pressure, with mutations occurring at a faster rate.
This indicates that MERS not only originated in bats but also
evolved over an extended length of time in bats before making the
jump to infect humans, possibly moving between bats and humans
through another species.
The study was published online Oct. 10 in the
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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