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Bat virus, 94.5% similar to Covid-19, found in China

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 16, 2021

Researchers examined data collected in China's Yunnan province between May 2019 and November 2020.

Researchers at Shandong First Medical University & Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences in Taian, China, revealed that a bat virus, found in China, is 94.5 per cent similar to COVID-19.

The authors of the new study stated that the RpYN06 virus's genetic make-up is similar to SARS-CoV-2, which is currently in circulation around the world.

For the study, the researchers examined data collected in China's Yunnan province between May 2019 and November 2020.

According to CNN Indonesia, a total of 411 samples from 23 species of bat were gathered for the study.

The findings suggested that there could be at least four viruses that were similar to SARS-CoV-2. Of these four, RpYN06 seemed to have almost the same genetic make-up as COVID-19.

Notably, RpYN06 reportedly does not have the same spike protein which is found in SARS-CoV-2. The spike protein is used by SARS-CoV-2 to enter and proliferate in the host’s cells.

The researchers said, as cited in the Metro UK report: "Our study highlights both the remarkable diversity of bat viruses at the local scale and that relatives of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV circulate in wildlife species in a broad geographic region of Southeast Asia and southern China.”

They added: “These data will help guide surveillance efforts to determine the origins of SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogenic coronaviruses."

Published on March 16, 2021

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