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

Uwem George, Oluwadamilola George, Arthur Oragwa, Babatunde Motayo, Joshua Kamani, Andrew Adamu, Oluyomi Sowemimo, Richard Adeleke, Samson Abalaka, Nuhu Sani, Judith Oguzie, Philomena Eromon, Onikepe Folarin, Anise Happi, Isaac Komolafe, Christian Happi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1017
JournalPathogens
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • bats
  • coronavirus diversity
  • Nigeria
  • surveillance
  • zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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