Researchers identify five viruses that are “likely to cause illness in humans” – including one closely related to SARS-CoV-2.
According to new research, at bats identified a new Covid-like virus in southern China that has the potential to spread to humans and livestock. Chinese and Australian scientists took samples from 149 bats in Yunnan province, which borders Laos and Myanmar, and identified five viruses “likely to cause disease in humans or livestock.”
Among them was a bat coronavirus closely related to both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS. “This means that SARS-CoV-2-like viruses are still circulating in Chinese bats and remain at risk of emergence,” said Prof Eddie Holmes, an evolutionary biologist and virologist at the University of Sydney (Australia) and co-author of the report.
As published preprint Study showed that bats were regularly infected with multiple viruses at the same time. This is significant because it shows that existing viruses can exchange parts of their genetic code to create new pathogens – a process known as recombination. ‘The most important finding is that individual bats can harbor a variety of different virus species, which occasionally co-exist,’ said Prof Jonathan Ball, virologist at the University of Nottingham. “Such co-infections, especially with related viruses like the Coronavirusgive the virus the opportunity to exchange critical pieces of genetic information, which naturally gives rise to new variants,” he said.
“Clear and Present Threat”
Professor Stuart Neil, Head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at King’s College London: “This study gives us a very important insight into the evolution and ecology of [Coronaviren] and the opportunities they have to recombine and regularly switch to new species.” They show a “clear and present threat of new transmission effects to humans.”
Previous analysis estimated that up to 400,000 people in southern China and Southeast Asia are infected with bat-borne viruses each year. Of the five viruses classified as “of concern,” one — known as BtSY2 — shared characteristics of both SARS, a virus that killed 774 people and infected 8,000 in a 2003 outbreak, and SARS-CoV-2, which caused the virus Caused by Covid-19 disease.
Where does Corona come from?
The recent advance release does not explain how Sars-Cov-2 originally spread to humans, nor does it include one Laborunfall out, but it helps the scientists to understand the possible development of the Virus to pursue. A new analysis presented earlier this month at the One Health Congress in Singapore suggests some bat coronaviruses shared a common ancestor with SARS-CoV-2 as recently as 2016 by comparing parts of the coronavirus genome.
“We need to sequence the entire viral genome of these circulating bat viruses, not just tiny parts of it [weil sie ständig mutieren und rekombinieren]said Prof. Joel Wertheim, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California San Diego and co-author of the analysis. “If we don’t sequence small parts of these bat virus genomes, we could be missing important parts that reveal the history of SARS-CoV-2.”