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Emerging reoviruses: the next pandemic? Volume 27, issue 3, Mai-Juin 2023

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Authors
Département de microbiologie, infectiologie et immunologie, Université de Montréal, BP 6128, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
* Correspondance : G. Lemay

As the world is experiencing the pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 responsible for COVID-19, one can wonder if members of other family of viruses could possibly emerge. Can such viruses establish a worldwide distribution with consequences similar to SARS-CoV-2? One such threat is the possible emergence of pathogenic reoviruses, especially by zoonotic transmission. Reoviruses are ubiquitous viruses exhibiting a worldwide distribution and various strains or isolates are found in many mammalian species and other vertebrates. When initially discovered, these viruses were named respiratory enteric orphan viruses (hence the acronym “reo”) in order to reflect the fact that they could not be clearly associated with any given disease. However, this is not necessarily the case for all of these viruses, as clearly shown for some of these in animals. Significantly, there have been numerous reports of zoonotic transmission, especially from bats to humans. In this manuscript, pertinent properties of reoviruses will be first briefly presented followed by a review of available evidence for zoonotic transmission of pathogenic reoviruses to humans. Future work that appears to be needed for preparedness to the possible emergence of these viruses will then be briefly discussed.