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Scientists have found that new coronovirus bats have been unnoticed for decades.
Horseshoe bats are the most admired origin of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, led by researchers McKees Bonnie of the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics said in a study published Tuesday Nature Microbiology.
The origin of the virus has been at the center of much debate as epidemics continue in economies and the death toll exceeds 654,000. The World Health Organization sent experts to China to study the issue this month as US government officials dismissed speculation that the pathogen had fled from a Chinese laboratory.
Tracing the lineage of the virus is important in an outbreak because it may allow health authorities to isolate the host of the pathogen from the animal, and later help reduce future health crises. Researchers warned that bats may have the ability to spread to other virus lineages in humans.
The findings highlight “Bonnie and coworkers wrote” how difficult it would be to identify viruses likely to have major human outbreaks before they emerged. “This underscores the need for a global network of real-time human disease surveillance systems.”
The research team reconstructed the development of the virus by tracing its recombination history. They concluded that the pangolin likely did not act as a host for the virus, although mammals in the skull may have played a role in touching the epidemic simply by transmitting it.