Experts believe that this bat may be the ancestor of a new type of coronavirus because its genome is almost identical to SARS-CoV-2.
Chinese scientists have discovered new carriers of the coronavirus. They believe that this bat species may be the ancestor of SARS-CoV-2.
Biologists studied organic fluids from 23 species of bats found in the Chinese province of Yunnan and found among the four close relatives of the new type of coronavirus.
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At this point, scientists cannot say exactly where and when SARS-CoV-2 appeared, nor do they have information about which animals were its intermediate carriers. But, at the same time, it is assumed that the ancestor of Covid-19 appeared among bats living in East Asia in the middle of the last century.
These data make it somewhat difficult to study the occurrence of infection because, in these areas, there are so many bats, which carry many different pathogenic coronaviruses.
In the course of this study, the genomes of bats showed many species of both beta and alpha coronaviruses, which include not only SARS-CoV-2 but also colds and animal diseases.
Most importantly, scientists found four close to SARS-CoV-2 beta coronaviruses that affect horseshoe bats. And as previously proven, this species of animal is the original carrier of the coronavirus.
Comparison of the genomes of the viruses found showed that RpYN06 is a direct ancestor or the closest relative of SARS-CoV-2. It separated from the common virus shortly before the start of the pandemic.
Scientists hope that a detailed study of this virus will allow us to understand how it was able to penetrate the cells of the human body and thus be able to find ways to prevent this situation.
An article with the results of this study was published on March 8 by bioRxiv.