Science

A new type of coronavirus has been found in Sweden: it spreads among small rodents

Bats and lizards are not the only wild animals among which new coronaviruses are spreading. Rodents such as rats, mice and voles can also carry viruses that can later be transmitted to humans.

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

The authors of the new study studied Swedish red-backed bank voles (Myodes glareolus) and discovered a widespread coronavirus among them. They named it the Grimse virus after the place of discovery.

It is not yet known whether this virus is dangerous for humans. Nevertheless, the results obtained are a good reminder of why it is necessary to monitor viruses spreading in the wild.

“We still do not know what potential threats the Grimse virus may pose to public health. But based on our observations and previous coronaviruses detected among bank voles, there are good reasons to continue monitoring,” says virologist Oke Lundqvist from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Bank voles are one of the most common rodents found in Europe. They often cross paths with humans, and are also carriers of the Puumala virus. The latter causes hemorrhagic fever in humans, known as epidemic nephropathy.

It is known that due to adverse weather conditions, voles hide in houses, and this increases the potential risk of transmission of the virus from rodent to human.


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