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Chinese researchers find batch of new coronaviruses in bats

June 11, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 45%. 1 min read.

Chinese researchers said Thursday they had found a batch of new coronaviruses in bats including one that may be the second-closest yet, genetically, to the Covid-19 virus.

(CNN)Chinese researchers said Thursday they had found a batch of new coronaviruses in bats including one that may be the second-closest yet, genetically, to the Covid-19 virus.

"In total, we assembled 24 novel coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses," the researchers wrote in a report published in the journal Cell.

One was very similar, genetically to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that's causing the current pandemic, they said -- a viral sample called RpYN06 taken from a horseshoe bat species called Rhinolophus pusillus.

"Together with the SARS-CoV-2 related virus collected from Thailand in June 2020, these results clearly demonstrate that viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 continue to circulate in bat populations, and in some regions might occur at a relatively high frequency," they wrote.

Although a bat is a likely source, it's possible the virus infected an intermediary animal.

In 2017, researchers sampling a cave in Yunnan found viruses very close genetically to the SARS virus in horseshoe bats.

"Our study highlights the remarkable diversity of bat coronaviruses at the local scale, including close relatives of both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV," they wrote.

Although there's some controversy about the origin of the coronavirus pandemic, a World Health Organization report said the most likely source is an animal -- probably a bat.

by summa-bot

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