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2022-Sarker et al-Viruses-Evidence of a Possible Viral Host Switch Event in an Avipoxvirus Isolated from an Endangered Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi).pdf (3.04 MB)

Evidence of a Possible Viral Host Switch Event in an Avipoxvirus Isolated from an Endangered Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

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posted on 2022-05-13, 03:27 authored by Subir SarkerSubir Sarker, TR Bowden, DB Boyle
Avipoxviruses have been characterized from many avian species. Two recent studies have reported avipoxvirus-like viruses with varying pathogenicity in reptiles. Avipoxviruses are considered to be restricted to avian hosts. However, reports of avipoxvirus-like viruses from reptiles such as the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and crocodile tegu (Crocodilurus amazonicus) suggest that cross-species transmission, within avian species and beyond, may be possible. Here we report evidence for a possible host switching event with a fowlpox-like virus recovered from an endangered northern royal albatross (Diomodea sanfordi)—a species of Procellariiformes, unrelated to Galliformes, not previously known to have been infected with fowlpox-like viruses. Complete genome sequencing of this virus, tentatively designated albatrosspox virus 2 (ALPV2), contained many fowlpox virus-like genes, but also 63 unique genes that are not reported in any other poxvirus. The ALPV2 genome contained 296 predicted genes homologous to different avipoxviruses, 260 of which were homologous to an American strain of fowlpox virus (FWPV). Subsequent phylogenetic analyses indicate that ALPV2 likely originated from a fowlpox virus-like progenitor. These findings highlight the importance of host-switching events where viruses cross species barriers with the risk of disease in close and distantly related host populations.


Dr. Sarker is the recipient of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (grant number DE200100367) funded by the Australian government. We also gratefully acknowledge the funding contributed by the Australian Biosecurity CRC for Emerging Infectious Disease in support of this work.


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© 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 (https://