A new coronavirus fear? New strain seen in swine has potential to jump to humans, US study finds

A new coronavirus fear? New strain seen in swine has potential to jump to humans, US study finds

An emerging coronavirus strain that causes gastrointestinal illness in swine – and is especially dangerous to baby pigs – could wreck the pork industry and has the potential to jump species and infect humans, a University of North Carolina study has found.

The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at a virus called swine acute diarrhoea syndrome, or Sads-CoV, that began to infect swine herds in China in 2016, causing diarrhoea and vomiting.

It killed 90 per cent of the piglets under five days old that contracted it.

The virus, which has not been detected in the United States, is in the same family as Sars-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. Both viruses are thought to have emerged from bats.

Last year, a group of 14 UNC-Chapel Hill epidemiologists, immunologists and microbiologists studied Sads-CoV to see if it could cross species and infect humans.