New coronaviruses found in bats in China

The research into the roots of SARS-CoV-2 perseveres, Chinese researchers have revealed that a discovery of a new batch of coronaviruses in bats has been found which includes one that could be genetically the second closest to the COVID-19 virus till now, CNN reported on Thursday. The research is being conducted at Weifeng Shi from the University of Shandong and his associates in a single, small region of the Yunnan province in southwestern China.

The study conducted by Weifeng Shi and his colleagues shows the number of forms of coronaviruses there are in bats and the amount that has the potential to spread to people. To conduct the research, samples were collected from small, forest-dwelling bats between May 2019 and November 2020 and tested urine, feces, and also swabs from the bats’ mouths.

The group congregated 24 novel coronavirus genomes from a variety of bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses, reported journal Cell. Out of these, a viral sample called RpYN06 obtained from a horseshoe bat species called Rhinolophus pusillus was affirmed to be genetically very similar to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s causing the current pandemic. Nonetheless, there were genetic differences in the spike protein, the knob-like structure that the virus utilizes when appending to cells.

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