OSU Researchers Study New Pig Virus with Cross-Species Potential

A newly found virus in pigs was seen to easily “jump species” in a laboratory test with cultured human cells and other species. For the OSU research team this raises concerns about potential outbreaks that could threaten humans and animals alike.

Researchers from OSU joined forces with an Utrecht University (Netherlands) team to try to understand the virus’s potential risks. This is the first study on the virus to note the possibility of a “species jump.” The research will be published in PNAS online.

The new virus, porcine deltacoronavirus, was first discovered in ’12 in pigs in China. It was later found in the US in an Ohio-based pig illness outbreak and since then it has been found in various other countries. No human cases have ever been confirmed, but researchers have their concerns.

For many public health officials and those involved in veterinary care, the virus seems especially dangerous because of it being so alike to SARS and MERS. Until there is a documented case of a “species jump” major concerns remain grounded firmly in the pig population.