Genetic diversity and ecology of coronaviruses hosted by cavedwelling bats in Gabon
Maganga, Gael Darren
Mombo, Illich Manfred
Mbeang Beyeme, Antoine Mitte
Drexler, Jan Felix
Leroy, Eric Maurice
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Little research on coronaviruses has been conducted on wild animals in Africa. Here, we screened a wide range of wild animals collected in six provinces and fve caves of Gabon between 2009 and 2015. We collected a total of 1867 animal samples (cave-dwelling bats, rodents, non-human primates and other wild animals). We explored the diversity of CoVs and determined the factors driving the infection of CoVs in wild animals. Based on a nested reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, only bats, belonging to the Hipposideros gigas (4/156), Hipposideros cf. ruber (13/262) and Miniopterus infatus (1/249) species, were found infected with CoVs. We identifed alphacoronaviruses in H. gigas and H. cf. ruber and betacoronaviruses in H. gigas. All Alphacoronavirus sequences grouped with Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E). Ecological analyses revealed that CoV infection was signifcantly found in July and October in H. gigas and in October and November in H. cf ruber. The prevalence in the Faucon cave was signifcantly higher. Our fndings suggest that insectivorous bats harbor potentially zoonotic CoVs; highlight a probable seasonality of the infection in cave-dwelling bats from the North-East of Gabon and pointed to an association between the disturbance of the bats’ habitat by human activities and CoV infection.
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-64159-1
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