Identification and characterization of a novel alpaca respiratory coronavirus most closely related to the human coronavirus 229E

Beate M Crossley, Richard E Mock, Scott A Callison, Sharon K Hietala
Viruses 2012, 4 (12): 3689-700
In 2007, a novel coronavirus associated with an acute respiratory disease in alpacas (Alpaca Coronavirus, ACoV) was isolated. Full-length genomic sequencing of the ACoV demonstrated the genome to be consistent with other Alphacoronaviruses. A putative additional open-reading frame was identified between the nucleocapsid gene and 3'UTR. The ACoV was genetically most similar to the common human coronavirus (HCoV) 229E with 92.2% nucleotide identity over the entire genome. A comparison of spike gene sequences from ACoV and from HCoV-229E isolates recovered over a span of five decades showed the ACoV to be most similar to viruses isolated in the 1960's to early 1980's. The true origin of the ACoV is unknown, however a common ancestor between the ACoV and HCoV-229E appears to have existed prior to the 1960's, suggesting virus transmission, either as a zoonosis or anthroponosis, has occurred between alpacas and humans.

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