A study published in the journal proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has claimed that the common cold (also known as cold) virus is transmitted to humans through camels.
Common cold is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nose.
There are four globally endemic human coronaviruses which, together with rhinoviruses, are responsible for causing common colds.
The researchers found that one of the four cold coronaviruses – HcoV-229E – originated from camels, just like the MERS virus.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), also known as camel flu, is a viral respiratory infection caused by the MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Camels are believed to be involved in the spread of MERS to humans.
The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus was identified in humans for the first time in 2012.
“Our current study gives us a warning sign regarding the risk of a MERS pandemic – because MERS could perhaps do what HCoV-229E did,” said one of the researchers Christian Drosten from University Hospital of Bonn.
“In our MERS investigations we examined about 1,000 camels for coronaviruses and were surprised to find pathogens that are related to ‘HCoV-229E’, the human common cold virus, in almost six percent of the cases,” Drosten said.
Further comparative molecular genetic analysis of common cold viruses in bats, humans and dromedaries suggests that this common cold virus was actually transmitted from camels to humans.