Hepatitis B Virus in Storks

If ducks and geese could be infected with a species-dependant Hepatitis B Virus, researchers theorized, then European and African white storks (Ciconia ciconia) could possibly carry that same virus too. So, they went looking for it but found a novel Hepatitis B Virus: Stork Hepatitis B Virus[1] or sometimes otherwise known as White Stork Hepatitis B Virus.
[Image: Carlos Delgado]
Stork Hepatitis B Virus has the largest DNA genome of all known avian Hepatitis B Viruses and is most closely related to, but distinct from, Heron Hepatitis B Virus.

Stork Hepatitis B Virus infected primary duck hepatocytes (liver cells) very inefficiently suggesting a restricted host range, similar to other Hepatitis B Viruses.

This discovery of stork infections unravels novel evolutionary aspects of Hepatitis B Viruses.

[1] Pult et al: Identification and analysis of a new hepadnavirus in white storks in Virology - 2001

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