Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Human gyrovirus: Scientists and health planners are now busy decoding the genetic secret of a new virus that is infecting human beings. This virus, originally present in chicken, is isolated from people, who have undergone organ transplantation

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Scientists and health planners are now busy
decoding the genetic secret of a new virus that is infecting human
beings. This virus, originally present in chicken, is isolated from
people, who have undergone organ transplantation.

Called the Human gyrovirus (HGyV), this latest addition to the list of
human pathogens, is also isolated from a few people living with human
immunodeficiency virus or HIV. The virus is shed through faecal route
too as it has been found in the human faeces. It is not clear whether
Human gyrovirus has passed on to human beings from chicken.

Researchers are trying to understand its prevalence, biological
functioning, genetic make-up, and the health troubles it could pose to
human beings. In the last five months, two strains of HGyV have been
identified in Italy and Chile. Research studies are yet to start in
India to find its prevalence in the country. However, given the
ever-increasing global travel of people, the virus could spread
everywhere including India, fear local health experts.

“HGyV can be present in the blood of infected persons, though
additional studies are needed to investigate possible clinical
implications,” says the latest medical update of the Centres for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States of America.
The virus was first discovered in human skin samples. Human gyrovirus
is similar to chicken anaemia virus or CAV.

Four per cent of healthy persons, who participated in a research
study, carried this new virus. Though the diseases the Human gyrovirus
can cause in human beings is not clear, its cousin, CAV, that infects
poultry birds cause a variety of health issues including haemorrhage,
depletion of lymph and damage to bone marrow leading to anaemia.

Studies at the virology unit, Pisa University Hospital, Italy, showed
the virus was found in six per cent of kidney transplant recipients
and one per cent of HIV-infected patient.

“The presence of HGyV in blood of infected humans suggests that the
infection might also be systemic (can spread to whole body). The
finding is not totally unexpected because CAV and the recently
discovered avian gyrovirus 2, a virus genetically similar to HGyV, can
circulate in the blood of infected animals,” the CDC report said.

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