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Researchers find SARS-CoV-2-like viruses in Japan and Cambodia

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 25, 2020 Published on November 25, 2020

Further studies are needed to understand the role of the two viruses

Researchers found two forms of coronaviruses closely related to the prevailing SARS-CoV-2. The first form was found in horseshow bats in Cambodia and another was found in frozen bat droppings in Japan.

According to the researchers, these two forms are the first known relative of the novel coronavirus, which have been found outside China, where the coronavirus pandemic reportedly began.

Researchers indicated that the viruses would have to share 97 per cent of their genome with the current Sars-CoV-2 in order to establish some relevance when it comes to tracing the Covid-19 origin.

The virus prototype in Cambodia was discovered in two Shamel horseshoe bats, also referred to as Rhinolophus Shameli. However, the genome of this virus in Cambodia is yet to be sequenced.

Veasna Duong, a virologist at Institute Pasteur in Phnom Pen, told scientific journal Nature that if this virus in Cambodia is closely related or is even an ancestor of the current pandemic virus, it could provide important details about how Sars-CoV-2 passed from bats to humans.

The virus prototype in Japan was discovered in Rhinolophus cornutus, another type of horseshoe bat, in 2013. According to the study, this virus shared 81 per cent of its genome with SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers further noted that further studies are needed to understand the role of the two viruses found in Japan and Cambodia in the origin of the current pandemic.

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Published on November 25, 2020
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