Pingu virus: A new picornavirus in penguins from Antarctica

William Marciel De Souza, Marcílio Jorge Fumagalli, Matheus Cavalheiro Martin, Jansen De Araujo, Maria Angela Orsi, Luiz Francisco Sanfilippo, Sejal Modha, Edison Luiz Durigon, José Luiz Proença-Módena, Clarice Weis Arns, Pablo Ramiro Murcia, Luiz Tadeu Moraes Figueiredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Picornaviridae family comprises single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses distributed into forty-seven genera. Picornaviruses have a broad host range and geographic distribution in all continents. In this study, we applied a high-throughput sequencing approach to examine the presence of picornaviruses in penguins from King George Island, Antarctica. We discovered and characterized a novel picornavirus from cloacal swab samples of gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua), which we tentatively named Pingu virus. Also, using RT-PCR we detected this virus in 12.9 per cent of cloacal swabs derived from P. papua, but not in samples from adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) or chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus). Attempts to isolate the virus in a chicken cell line and in embryonated chicken eggs were unsuccessful. Our results expand the viral diversity, host range, and geographical distribution of the Picornaviridae.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbervez047
JournalVirus Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).


  • Antarctica
  • metagenomics
  • penguins
  • picornavirus
  • virus discovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology


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