As the entire world is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese researchers have discovered a new batch of Covid in bats. Interestingly, one of them, named Rhinolophus pusillus is genetically close to the Covid-19 virus.
New discovery puzzles medical experts
The new discovery comes at a time when top world leaders including US president Joe Biden have urged their respective investigation departments to find the exact origin of the Covid pandemic. The new discovery has been made in the Yunnan province in China, and it is expected to give medical experts to know more about the number of coronaviruses that exist in bats.
Scientists are now trying to determine how many of these viruses have the capability to spread to people, and animals like pigs, dogs, cats, mice, and cattle.
"In total, we assembled 24 novel coronavirus genomes from different bat species, including four SARS-CoV-2 like coronaviruses. Together 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 circulate in bat populations, and in some regions might occur at a relatively high frequency," wrote the researchers in the study report.
Researchers also noted that one of these viruses is very similar to the SARS-CoV-2 that is responsible for the ongoing pandemic.
"It would be the closest strain to SARS-CoV-2 except for genetic differences on the spike protein, the knob-like structure that the virus uses when attaching to cells," added researchers.
Covid-19: The pandemic which shut down the entire world
It was in late 2019 that the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected in Wuhan, China. When the infection was initially detected, no medical experts in the world foresaw that this disease will turn into a global pandemic. The infection soon spread like a wildfire, and according to the latest updates, it has claimed the lives of more than 3.8 million people worldwide.
Even though the vaccination rollout is progressing steadily in various countries, the presence of the Delta variant of Covid is alarming medical experts, as several studies have hinted that this variant is more transmissible and could even evade the immunity offered by the vaccine.