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Ethanol-Fixed Tissues for Virus Discovery

29 August 2013


The complete genome of a newfound hantavirus, designated Bowe virus, was amplified and sequenced from ethanol-fixed intercostal muscle of a Doucet’s musk shrew (Crocidura douceti) (order Soricomorpha), captured in southwestern Guinea. Although not ideal and far inferior to frozen tissues or tissues preserved in RNAlater, ethanol-fixed archival tissues from small mammals hold promise in hantavirus-discovery efforts, as evidenced also by the recent identification of a highly divergent hantavirus in ethanol-fixed liver tissue collected from banana pipistrelles (Neoromicia nanus) (order Chiroptera) captured in Cote d’Ivoire. That is, ethanol-fixed tissues, originally collected for other purposes, greatly expand the pool of specimens available for hantavirus hunting, particularly in other insectivorous small mammals, such as hedgehogs (order Erinaceomorpha) and tenrecs (order Afrosoricida).