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Viruses 2019, 11(4), 356;

Discovery and Characterization of Novel Bat Coronavirus Lineages from Kazakhstan

Programme in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore 169857, Singapore
Research Institute for Biological Safety Problems, 080409 Gvardeiskiy, Kordaiskiy rayon, Zhambylskaya oblast, Kazakhstan
SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute, SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre, Singapore 168753, Singapore
Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses and Bats 2019)
PDF [1990 KB, uploaded 17 April 2019]


Coronaviruses are positive-stranded RNA viruses that infect a variety of hosts, resulting in a range of symptoms from gastrointestinal illness to respiratory distress. Bats are reservoirs for a high diversity of coronaviruses, and focused surveillance detected several strains genetically similar to MERS-coronavirus, SARS-coronavirus, and the human coronaviruses 229E and NL63. The bat fauna of central Asia, which link China to eastern Europe, are relatively less studied than other regions of the world. Kazakhstan is the world’s ninth largest country; however, little is understood about the prevalence and diversity of bat-borne viruses. In this study, bat guano was collected from bat caves in three different sites of southern Kazakhstan that tested positive for coronaviruses. Our phylogenetic reconstruction indicates these are novel bat coronaviruses that belong to the genus Alphacoronavirus. In addition, two distinct lineages of Kazakhstan bat coronaviruses were detected. Both lineages are closely related to bat coronaviruses from China, France, Spain, and South Africa, suggesting that co-circulation of coronaviruses is common in multiple bat species with overlapping geographical distributions. Our study highlights the need for collaborative efforts in understudied countries to increase integrated surveillance capabilities toward better monitoring and detection of infectious diseases.
Keywords: Kazakhstan; Myotis blythii; Hypsugo savii; coronavirus; virus discovery; phylogeny Kazakhstan; Myotis blythii; Hypsugo savii; coronavirus; virus discovery; phylogeny
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Mendenhall, I.H.; Kerimbayev, A.A.; Strochkov, V.M.; Sultankulova, K.T.; Kopeyev, S.K.; Su, Y.C.; Smith, G.J.; Orynbayev, M.B. Discovery and Characterization of Novel Bat Coronavirus Lineages from Kazakhstan. Viruses 2019, 11, 356.

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