WASHINGTON: Amidst renewed efforts to investigate the origin of COVID-19, Chinese researchers have reported that they have found samples of a new type of coronavirus in bats during an investigation. According to the information received, the newly found virus in bats includes a virus that may be genetically the second closest to Covid. Researchers say their discoveries in southwestern China reveal how many coronaviruses are in bats and how many have the potential to spread to people.
In a report published in the journal Cell, Chinese researchers from Shandong University said, ‘In total, we collected 24 new coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2-like coronaviruses.’
The samples were collected from small, forest-dwelling bats between May 2019 and November 2020. Researchers say they took swabs from the bat’s mouth as well as tested urine and feces.
According to Chinese researchers, a virus genetically similar to the SARS-CoV-2 virus has caused the ongoing pandemic. He said, ‘This would be the closest strain to SARS-CoV-2 except for the genetic difference on the spike protein. The knob-like structure, which the virus uses when attaching to the cells.
“Along 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 spread in bat populations and in some areas,” he said. can occur at a relatively high frequency.’