Pangolins trouvé porteur de virus liés à coronavirus
Il a été découvert que les pangolins de contrebande transportaient des virus étroitement liés au nouveau coronavirus. Les scientifiques affirment que la vente des animaux sur les marchés de la faune devrait être strictement interdite pour minimiser le risque de futures épidémies.
Pangolins are the most-commonly illegally trafficked mammal, used both as food and in traditional medicine.
In research published in the journal Nature, researchers say handling these animals requires “caution”.
And they say further surveillance of wild pangolins is needed to understand their role in the risk of future transmission to humans.
Lead researcher Dr Tommy Lam of The University of Hong Kong said two groups of coronaviruses related to the virus behind the human pandemic have been identified in Malayan pangolins smuggled into China.
“Although their role as the intermediate host of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak remains to be confirmed, sale of these wild animals in wet markets should be strictly prohibited to avoid future zoonotic [animal to human] transmission,” he told BBC News.
Exactly how the virus jumped from a wild animal, presumably a bat, to another animal and then humans remains a mystery. The horseshoe bat and the pangolin have both been implicated, but the precise sequence of events is unknown.
Finding the virus in smuggled Malayan pangolins raised the question of where they contracted the virus, said Dr Lam. Was it from bats along the trafficking route to China or in their native habitats in Southeast Asia?
Conservationists say it would be devastating if the discovery led to further persecution of the endangered mammal. The animal’s scales are in high demand for use in traditional Chinese medicine, while pangolin meat is considered a delicacy.
“This is the time for the international community to pressure their governments to end illegal wildlife trade,” said Elisa Panjang of Cardiff University, a pangolin conservation officer at the Danau Girang Field Centre in Malaysia.
China has moved to ban the consumption of meat from wild animals in the wake of the outbreak. Similar moves are being considered in Vietnam.
Prof Andrew Cunningham of Zoological Society of London (ZSL) said it was important not to jump to conclusions from the paper. “The source of the detected coronavirus really is unknown – it might have been a natural pangolin virus or have jumped from another species between capture and death.”
Et le Dr Dan Challender, de l'Université d'Oxford, lesdits pangolins sont connus pour accueillir diverses souches de coronavirus. “Identifier la source du SRAS-CoV-2 est important de comprendre l'émergence de la pandémie actuelle, et dans la prévention des événements similaires à l'avenir,” il a dit.