Transspecies transmission of retroviruses: New cases
Robert Koch Institute, 13353 Berlin, Germany
Transspecies transmission is common among retroviruses, although the consequences of the transmission are very different. Some transspecies transmissions have resulted in fatal disease in the new host while others have remained asymptomatic. Some retroviruses are apathogenic in the original species, but pathogenic in a new host and others can be pathogenic or apathogenic in both species. In some cases, endogenization of the retrovirus in the new host has been observed but in others not, while some transmitted retroviruses exist in both forms. Although in most cases transspecies transmission has been observed in one direction only, bi-directional transmissions of caprine and ovine lentiviruses have recently been described. Studies on newly reported natural and experimental transspecies transmissions of the koala retrovirus (KoRV) may help to understand such events.