Infectious coronavirus family went undetected in bats for decades: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on July 30, 2020 Published on July 30, 2020

The closest known predecessor of the virus existed in bats 40-70 years ago   -  THE HINDU

According to a study carried out by researchers at the University of Glasgow, the coronavirus that has caused a pandemic in the world may have gone undetected in bats for decades.

The closest known predecessor of the virus existed in bats 40-70 years ago. The coronavirus developed potential for a human crossover for some time, the scientists said.

The researchers added that the study posed questions on claims that the virus has been engineered in a lab.

Prof David Robertson of the University of Glasgow, worked on the study, published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

He said to BBC, “That suggests that these viruses with the potential to emerge in humans have been around for some time.”

“We really do need to understand where or how the virus has crossed into the human population. If we now believe there’s this generalist virus circulating in bats, we need to get better at monitoring that,” he added.

He believes that there is a need to keep an eye on the future forms of the disease so as to prevent the pandemic from reemerging.

“If these viruses have been around for decades that means that they’ve had lots of opportunities to find new host species,” said Prof Robertson.

The researchers collated the genetic structure of Sars-CoV-2 with its close relative found in bats, a virus known as RaTG13.

The researchers came to the conclusion that both the relatives emerged from the same ancestor, but evolved over time.

Bats are found across the world and can migrate long distances.

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Published on July 30, 2020
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