A new virus close to SARS-CoV-2 discovered in Chinese bats

Sébastien Le Belzic, edited by Ugo Pascolo

A Sino-Australian study has discovered new viruses in Chinese bats, five of which are potentially dangerous to humans because of possible transmission. This discovery could also make it possible to learn more about the origin of Covid-19, since a discovered virus is very close to SARS-CoV-2.

Since its appearance three years ago, the Covid-19 has ended up revealing many of its secrets to researchers around the world. But one still remains in the shadows: its origin. However, a step closer to unraveling this mystery has apparently been taken by Chinese and Australian researchers who have discovered new viruses in bats captured in southern China. Among them, five are potentially dangerous for humans because of a risk of zoonosis, that is to say transmission from animals to humans.

A virus that looks a lot like the Covid virus

Among these five new viruses, we find BtSY2, which has the particularity of resembling SARS-CoV-2. Not to mention that the study conducted by researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in Shenzhen and the University of Sydney was made in Yunnan province, a remote land of the Middle Kingdom where we find many wild species, including large populations of bats. Animals that were studied in the Wuhan laboratory.

As for the risk of zoonosis, it is all the higher as “bats tend to settle closer to urban areas because they no longer find enough food” because of deforestation, explains to the micro of Europe 1 Kerry Baumann, bat specialist at the University of Toronto. For the latter, “what we do in nature has a direct impact on these new pandemics”.

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