The Ohio Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that it has detected a new coronavirus in pig fecal samples from four different swine farms in Ohio that is different from the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and transmissible gastroenteritis, but shows similar clinical signs.
The farms from which the samples were taken experienced outbreaks of a diarrheal disease in sows and piglets in January and early February of 2014.
Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory virologist Dr. Yan Zhang discovered the virus; it cannot spread to humans or other species and poses no risk to food safety.
Though the clinical signs are similar to TGE and PED – the deadly diarrheal virus that was discovered in the U.S. in 2013 – Electronmicropy of fecal samples from the four farms showed the presence of coronavirus-like viral particles, different from either disease.
In one of the four farms, polymerase chain reaction tests for TGE viruses and PED viruses currently circulating in the U.S. were negative, but all 10 samples were positive for a new virus. PED and the new virus were detected in fecal samples from the other three farms.
Related: PED Vaccine Takes Aim at Deadly Virus
Sequence analysis of the new coronavirus shows that it is a deltacoronavirus. The new virus has been designated as Swine DeltaCoronavirus.
This virus is closely related to a coronavirus which was detected in Hong Kong in 2012, ODA says, but further study is needed to confirm whether or not this virus is the cause of diarrheal disease in affected pigs.
Also Tuesday, ODA said it has completed genetic sequencing of a new PED strain, which they say may lead to a marketable vaccine for swine in the near future.
Led by Zhang, the sequencing shows the new PED virus differs in a fragment of one gene encoding a surface protein. The rest of the genome sequence is identical to the economically devastating PED virus currently circulating in the U.S.