Diversity of coronavirus in bats from Eastern Thailand.Virol J. 2015 Apr 11; 12:57.VJ
Bats are reservoirs for a diverse range of coronaviruses (CoVs), including those closely related to human pathogens such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) CoV and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome CoV. There are approximately 139 bat species reported to date in Thailand, of which two are endemic species. Due to the zoonotic potential of CoVs, standardized surveillance efforts to characterize viral diversity in wildlife are imperative.
A total of 626 bats from 19 different bat species were individually sampled from 5 provinces in Eastern Thailand between 2008 and 2013 (84 fecal and 542 rectal swabs). Samples collected (either fresh feces or rectal swabs) were placed directly into RNA stabilization reagent, transported on ice within 24 hours and preserved at -80°C until further analysis. CoV RNA was detected in 47 specimens (7.6%), from 13 different bat species, using broadly reactive consensus PCR primers targeting the RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase gene designed to detect all CoVs. Thirty seven alphacoronaviruses, nine lineage D betacoronaviruses, and one lineage B betacoronavirus (SARS-CoV related) were identified. Six new bat CoV reservoirs were identified in our study, namely Cynopterus sphinx, Taphozous melanopogon, Hipposideros lekaguli, Rhinolophus shameli, Scotophilus heathii and Megaderma lyra.
CoVs from the same genetic lineage were found in different bat species roosting in similar or different locations. These data suggest that bat CoV lineages are not strictly concordant with their hosts. Our phylogenetic data indicates high diversity and a complex ecology of CoVs in bats sampled from specific areas in eastern regions of Thailand. Further characterization of additional CoV genes may be useful to better describe the CoV divergence.