Benítez Rico, Laura

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First Name
Last Name
Benítez Rico
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Faculty / Institute
Ciencias Biológicas
Genética, Fisiología y Microbiología
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Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
  • Publication
    Emerging and Novel Viruses in Passerine Birds
    (MDPI, 2023-09-20) Williams, Richard Alexander John; Christian J. Sánchez-Llatas; Domenech Gómez, Ana María; Madrid González, Ricardo; Sergio Fandiño; Pablo Cea-Callejo; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Benítez Rico, Laura
    There is growing interest in emerging viruses that can cause serious or lethal disease in humans and animals. The proliferation of cloacal virome studies, mainly focused on poultry and other domestic birds, reveals a wide variety of viruses, although their pathogenic significance is currently uncertain. Analysis of viruses detected in wild birds is complex and often biased towards waterfowl because of the obvious interest in avian influenza or other zoonotic viruses. Less is known about the viruses present in the order Passeriformes, which comprises approximately 60% of extant bird species. This review aims to compile the most significant contributions on the DNA/RNA viruses affecting passerines, from traditional and metagenomic studies. It highlights that most passerine species have never been sampled. Especially the RNA viruses from Flaviviridae, Orthomyxoviridae and Togaviridae are considered emerging because of increased incidence or avian mortality/morbidity, spread to new geographical areas or hosts and their zoonotic risk. Arguably poxvirus, and perhaps other virus groups, could also be considered "emerging viruses". However, many of these viruses have only recently been described in passerines using metagenomics and their role in the ecosystem is unknown. Finally, it is noteworthy that only one third of the viruses affecting passerines have been officially recognized.
  • Publication
    A review on the prevalence of Avipoxvirus and pox-like lesions in free-living and captive wild birds
    (MDPI, 2021-04-30) Williams, Richard Alexander John; Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Avian pox is a widespread infection in birds caused by genus Avipoxvirus pathogens. It is a noteworthy, potentially lethal disease to wild and domestic hosts. It can produce two different conditions: cutaneous pox, and diphtheritic pox. Here, we carry out an exhaustive review of all cases of avian pox reported from wild birds to analyze the effect and distribution in different avian species. Avian poxvirus strains have been detected in at least 374 wild bird species, a 60% increase on a 1999 review on avian pox hosts. We also analyze epizootic cases and if this disease contributes to wild bird population declines. We frequently observe very high prevalence in wild birds in remote island groups, e.g., Hawaii, Galapagos, etc., representing a major risk for the conservation of their unique endemic avifauna. However, the difference in prevalence between islands and continents is not significant given the few available studies. Morbidity and mortality can also be very high in captive birds, due to high population densities. However, despite the importance of the disease, the current detection rate of new Avipoxvirus strains suggests that diversity is incomplete for this group, and more research is needed to clarify its real extent, particularly in wild birds.
  • Publication
    A Novel Dependoparvovirus Identified in Cloacal Swabs of Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) from Urban Areas of Spain
    (Mdpi, 2023-03-26) Christian Sánchez; José Luis Méndez; Juan Carlos Ortiz; Domenech Gómez, Ana María; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Benítez Rico, Laura
    The introduction of invasive birds into new ecosystems frequently has negative consequences for the resident populations. Accordingly, the increasing population of monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) in Europe may pose a threat because we have little knowledge of the viruses they can transmit to native naïve species. In this study, we describe a new dependoparvovirus detected by metagenomic analysis of cloacal samples from 28 apparently healthy individuals captured in urban areas of Madrid, Spain. The genomic characterization revealed that the genome encoded the NS and VP proteins typical of parvoviruses and was flanked by inverted terminal repeats. No recombination signal was detected. The phylogenetic analysis showed that it was closely related to a parvovirus isolated in a wild psittacid in China. Both viruses share 80% Rep protein sequence identity and only 64% with other dependoparvoviruses identified in Passeriformes, Anseriformes, and Piciformes and are included in a highly supported clade, which could be considered a new species. The prevalence was very low, and none of the additional 73 individuals tested positive by PCR. These results highlight the importance of exploring the viral genome in invasive species to prevent the emergence of novel viral pathogenic species.
  • Publication
    Comparative metagenomics of Palearctic and Neotropical avian cloacal viromes reveal geographic bias in virus discovery
    (MDPI, 2020-11-26) Truchado Martín, Daniel Alejandro; Llanos Garrido, Alejandro; Oropesa Olmedo, David A.; Cerrada, Belén; Cea, Pablo; Moens, Michaël André Jean; Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Doménech, Ana; Milá, Borja; Pérez Tris, Javier; Cadar, Daniel; Benítez Rico, Laura
    Our understanding about viruses carried by wild animals is still scarce. The viral diversity of wildlife may be best described with discovery-driven approaches to the study of viral diversity that broaden research efforts towards non-canonical hosts and remote geographic regions. Birds have been key organisms in the transmission of viruses causing important diseases, and wild birds are threatened by viral spillovers associated with human activities. However, our knowledge of the avian virome may be biased towards poultry and highly pathogenic diseases. We describe and compare the fecal virome of two passerine-dominated bird assemblages sampled in a remote Neotropical rainforest in French Guiana (Nouragues Natural Reserve) and a Mediterranean forest in central Spain (La Herrería). We used metagenomic data to quantify the degree of functional and genetic novelty of viruses recovered by examining if the similarity of the contigs we obtained to reference sequences differed between both locations. In general, contigs from Nouragues were significantly less similar to viruses in databases than contigs from La Herrería using Blastn but not for Blastx, suggesting that pristine regions harbor a yet unknown viral diversity with genetically more singular viruses than more studied areas. Additionally, we describe putative novel viruses of the families Picornaviridae, Reoviridae and Hepeviridae. These results highlight the importance of wild animals and remote regions as sources of novel viruses that substantially broaden the current knowledge of the global diversity of viruses.
  • Publication
    Clinical and hematological follow-Up of long-term oral therapy with type-I interferon in cats naturally infected with feline Leukemia virus or felineiImmunodeficiency Virus
    (MDPI, 2020-08-20) Gómez-Lucía Duato, María Esperanza; Collado Alcalá, Victorio Manuel; Miró Corrales, Guadalupe; Martín Iniesta, Sonsoles; Benítez Rico, Laura; Doménech, Ana
    Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), two of the most important pathogens of cats, produce chronic systemic diseases with progressive death of cells involved in the immune response, ultimately leading to death. Immunostimulants is one of the few alternatives to the symptomatic treatment. In this study, 27 naturally FeLV-infected (FeLV+) and 31 naturally FIV-infected (FIV+) cats were administered orally by their owners 60 IU/day of recombinant human interferon alpha (rHuIFN-α) for four months in alternate weeks. Clinical status was evaluated and blood samples collected at four different visits or months (M): pretreatment (M0), mid-treatment (M2), end of treatment (M4), and 4–8 months after end of treatment (M10). Most cats ostensibly improved their clinical status, and many became asymptomatic. rHuIFN-α treatment improved the anemic processes observed at M0 (at least in cats with mild or moderate anemia) and leukocyte counts, including a more favorable CD4+/CD8+ ratio. An increase in the serum gammaglobulin concentration was seen in 80% of the cats. Despite observing an obvious favorable progress in the clinical, biopathological, and CD4+/CD8+ values during treatment, almost invariably all the parameters analyzed worsened after treatment discontinuation (M10), which suggests that the interferon-α protocol should be either extended or include additional cycles for a long-lasting benefit in FeLV+ and FIV+ cats.