Alphacoronavirus Detection in Lungs, Liver, and Intestines of Bats from Brazil


Bats are flying mammals distributed worldwide known to host several types of Coronavirus (CoV). Since they were reported as the probable source of spillover of highly pathogenic CoV into the human population, investigating the circulation of this virus in bats around the world became of great importance. We analyzed samples from 103 bats from two distinct regions in Brazil. Coronavirus from the Alphacoronavirus genus was detected in 12 animals, 11 from São José do Rio Preto—SP region and 1 from Barreiras—BA region, resulting in a prevalence of 17.18% and 2.56% respectively. The virus was detected not only in intestines but also in lungs and liver. Phylogenetic analysis based on nsP12 genomic region suggests that the sequences group according to host family and sampling location. Studies on the circulation of these viruses in bats remain important to understand the ecology and evolutionary relationship of these pathogens.

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Author information

Correspondence to Cíntia Bittar.

Ethics declarations

This research project was approved by the Ethics Committee on the Use of Animals of the Institute of Biosciences, Letters and Exact Sciences (CEUA/IBILCE-Protocol 135/2016) (Information stated in the Methods section under the headline Samples).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Additional information

Sequence data

GenBank Accession Numbers from MH974764 to MH974780

Electronic supplementary material

Online Resource 1:

GenBank accession number of the sequences from Dataset 1, including the sequences from this study. (XLSX 9 kb)

Online Resource 2:

GenBank accession number, host family and species, date and place of host sampling of the sequences from Dataset 2. (XLSX 16 kb)

Online Resource 3:

Information on sex, family, species and organs of all animals collected in this study. (XLSX 13 kb)

Online Resource 4:

Results of statistical test of association between traits and phylogeny done on BaTS software. A. Statistical analysis of the association of host family and phylogenetic clustering; B. Statistical analysis of the association of location and phylogenetic clustering. Parsimony Score (PS); Association Index (AI); Monophyletic Clade (MC). Values of p ≤ 0.01 were considered significant. (PDF 976 kb)

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Bittar, C., Machado, R.R.G., Comelis, M.T. et al. Alphacoronavirus Detection in Lungs, Liver, and Intestines of Bats from Brazil. Microb Ecol 79, 203–212 (2020) doi:10.1007/s00248-019-01391-x

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  • Bats
  • Coronavirus
  • Alphacoronavirus
  • Phylogeny