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Artist's rendering of the covid19 virus

Artist's rendering of the covid19 virus

Improved Computer Modeling Can Help Predict Future Outbreaks

Viruses must enter a cell to replicate and cause infection. Once inside the cell, a race begins between the host’s immunity and infection. For coronaviruses, a spike protein on the viral surface is responsible for receptor binding and cell entry. Studies show that SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that leads to Covid-19 — uses an enzyme called “ACE2” as the primary receptor for cell attachment.

ARS researchers at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, IA, used computer modeling to predict the limited potential of livestock transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and whether there were evolutionary changes in the genetic sequence of ACE2 receptors in domestic animals, including dogs, pigs, cattle, and goats, that may restrict SARS-CoV-2 infections. Computer modeling can not only help predict the susceptibility of livestock and other animals to SARS-CoV-2, but other viruses as well. Human and animal health organizations can use these findings to better predict and prepare for disease outbreaks.

Explore Other Discoveries

Scientists Test Farm Animals for COVID-19

ARS scientists conducted research to determine if America’s agricultural system is safe from COVID-19.

Cattle Thank Their Lucky Clovers

Red clover in cattle diets could give them additional defense against fescue toxicosis, caused by the consumption of fungus-infected tall fescue when grazing.

Fighting the Invasive Tawny Crazy Ant

ARS scientists and the Foundation for the Study of Invasive Species in Argentina, conducted research to further understand tawny crazy ant behavior.

Fungus Compounds May Help Fight Fish Disease

ARS researchers and Villanova University researchers looked at compounds called pyranopyrans that have significant antibacterial properties against a certain fish pathogen.

New Breeding Tools Boost Atlantic Salmon Production

An improved genome reference sequence for the North American Atlantic salmon and the first DNA chip enables the use of genomic information in breeding strategies.

Protecting U.S. Swine from a Looming Animal Disease Threat

ARS scientists at the Plum Island National Animal Disease Research Center are preparing countermeasures in case of the arrival of African Swine Fever in the United States.