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Coronaviruses closely related to the pandemic virus discovered in Japan and Cambodia


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The viruses, both found in bats stored in laboratory freezers, are the first SARS-CoV-2 relatives to be found outside China.

 

Two lab freezers in Asia have yielded surprising discoveries. Researchers have told Nature they have found a coronavirus that is closely related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the pandemic, in horseshoe bats stored in a freezer in Cambodia. Meanwhile, a team in Japan has reported the discovery of another closely related coronavirus — also found in frozen bat droppings.

 

The viruses are the first known relatives of SARS-CoV-2 to be found outside China, which supports the World Health Organization’s search across Asia for the pandemic’s animal origin. Strong evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 originated in horseshoe bats, but whether it passed directly from bats to people, or through an intermediate host, remains a mystery.

 

read more https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-03217-0

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Although I agree that it is too simplistic to just blame the pandemic on the eating of bats, it is also true that the consumption of many wild fauna tends to spread diseases. I would hope this cultural culinary choice would change in these modern times.  Also, the 1918 flu probably didn't come from America. Here is just one story published in 2014 by a Canadian historian that traces the possible origin of the 1918 pandemic.   

 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/1/140123-spanish-flu-1918-china-origins-pandemic-science-health/

 

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4 hours ago, Sheryl said:

Actually it is not only Chinese who at bats. There are roadside venders selling bat meat in parts of Thailand and Cambodia.

 

In the case of COVID there is speculation that it crossed into humans from pangolins, who are considered a delicacy and often eaten in China (and becoming endangered as a result). COVID infection has been documented in captive pangolins. Presumably somehow gets from the bats to them.

 

SARS and MERS also crossed from wildlife into humans and for that matter so did HIV and Ebola.

 

The message is clear: stop wildlife trafficking!!!

 

Otherwise this is but the beginning. There are thousands more viruses we have no immunity to in horshoe bats alone.

But are Thais and Khmers eating horseshoe bats? I have seen comments that these bats are not sold in food markets, rather that the larger fruit bats are eaten, in China anyway. It is not necessary that the virus passed through an intermediate species. At the beginning of the pandemic when the Wuhan market was claimed as the source, there was talk of intermediate species. For now, the initial transmission to humans has not been reported, whether or not it is known.

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11 minutes ago, AKJeff said:

Although I agree with the point you are making, the 1918 flu probably didn't come from America. Here is just one story published in 2014 by a Canadian historian that traces the origin of the 1918 pandemic.   

 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/1/140123-spanish-flu-1918-china-origins-pandemic-science-health/

For a while the source of the 1918 pandemic has been assumed to have been China, due to cultural and environmental factors. The idea of a source in the US must be a conspiracy theory!

 

The genome of the 1918 flu has been reconstructed from frozen Eskimos, but that probably happened after the National Geographic article from 2014.

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