Detection of Alpha- and Betacoronaviruses in Frugivorous and Insectivorous Bats in Nigeria

George, Uwem, George, Oluwadamilola, Oragwa, Arthur, Motayo, Babatunde, Kamani, Joshua, Adamu, Andrew, Sowemimo, Oluyomi, Adeleke, Richard, Abalaka, Samson, Sani, Nuhu, Oguzie, Judith, Eromon, Philomena, Folarin, Onikepe, Happi, Anise, Komolafe, Isaac, and Happi, Christian (2022) Detection of Alpha- and Betacoronaviruses in Frugivorous and Insectivorous Bats in Nigeria. Pathogens, 11 (9). 1017.

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The rise of bat-associated zoonotic viruses necessitates a close monitoring of their natural hosts. Since the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), it is evident that bats are vital reservoirs of coronaviruses (CoVs). In this study, we investigated the presence of CoVs in multiple bat species in Nigeria to identify viruses in bats at high-risk human contact interfaces. Four hundred and nine bats comprising four bat species close to human habitats were individually sampled from five states in Nigeria between 2019 and 2021. Coronavirus detection was done using broadly reactive consensus PCR primers targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) gene of CoVs. Coronavirus RNA was detected in 39 samples (9.5%, CI 95%: [7.0, 12.8]), of which 29 were successfully sequenced. The identified CoVs in Nigerian bats were from the unclassified African alphacoronavirus lineage and betacoronavirus lineage D (Nobecovirus), with one sample from Hipposideros ruber coinfected with alphacoronavirus and betacoronavirus. Different bat species roosting in similar or other places had CoVs from the same genetic lineage. The phylogenetic and evolutionary dynamics data indicated a high CoV diversity in Nigeria, while host switching may have contributed to CoV evolution. Robust sentinel surveillance is recommended to enhance our knowledge of emerging and re-emerging coronaviruses.

Item ID: 76433
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-0817
Keywords: bats, coronavirus diversity, Nigeria, surveillance, zoonosis
Copyright Information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2023 03:39
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310706 Virology @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420203 Environmental epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200404 Disease distribution and transmission (incl. surveillance and response) @ 100%
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