Cholleti H, de Jong J, Blomström AL, Berg M
Pathogens 12 (1) - [2022-12-21; online 2022-12-21]
Bats are reservoirs for many different viruses, including some that can be transmitted to and cause disease in humans and/or animals. However, less is known about the bat-borne viruses circulating in Northern European countries such as in Sweden. In this study, saliva from Myotis brandtii bats, collected from south-central Sweden, was analyzed for viruses. The metagenomic analysis identified viral sequences belonging to different viral families, including, e.g., Nairoviridae, Retroviridae, Poxviridae, Herpesviridae and Siphoviridae. Interestingly, through the data analysis, the near-complete genome of Issyk-Kul virus (ISKV), a zoonotic virus within the Nairoviridae family, was obtained, showing 95-99% protein sequence identity to previously described ISKVs. This virus is believed to infect humans via an intermediate tick host or through contact with bat excrete. ISKV has previously been found in bats in Europe, but not previously in the Nordic region. In addition, near full-length genomes of two novel viruses belonging to Picornavirales order and Tymoviridae family were characterized. Taken together, our study has not only identified novel viruses, but also the presence of a zoonotic virus not previously known to circulate in this region. Thus, the results from these types of studies can help us to better understand the diversity of viruses circulating in bat populations, as well as identify viruses with zoonotic potential that could possibly be transmitted to humans.