Medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases has reported a case of a new variant of coronavirus from dogs found in pneumonia patients in 2018 in Sarawak, Malaysia.
The canine coronavirus was found in eight out of 301 samples taken from pneumonia patients.
The team of Dr. Gregory Gray, infectious disease epidemiologist at Duke University and researchers from Malaysia who were studying pneumonia discovered the virus.
“What this suggests is that because we don’t have diagnostics that would pick up new coronaviruses in the common hospital laboratory setting, we are missing opportunities to detect pre-pandemic viruses,” Dr. Gray said.
He also sent the samples to virologist Anastasia Vlasova, an animal coronavirus world expert at Ohio State University, for further tests.
Vlasova was able to grow the virus in a lab setting and had sequenced its genome.
She says, “It’s a mutation that’s very similar to one previously found in the SARS coronavirus and in [versions of] SARS-CoV-2 … [that appeared] very soon after its introduction into the human population,” NPR news reported.
However, experts have not confirmed if the mutation causes pneumonia and that there is no evidence yet of human transmission.