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DNA Sequencing from Water & Leech Bloodmeals Reveal Viruses Circulating in the Wild

Photo: Andrew Tilker

In a new scientific investigation headed by the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), water from African and Mongolian waterholes as well as bloodmeals from Southeast Asian leeches were assessed for the ability to retrieve mammalian viruses without the need to find and catch the mammals. The scientists analyzed the samples using high throughput sequencing to identify known viruses as well as viruses new to science. Both approaches proved to be suitable tools for pandemic prevention research as they allow finding and monitoring reservoirs of wildlife viruses. For example, a novel coronavirus ...