Friday, January 29, 2021, 10:56 (GMT + 7)
Viruses resemble SARS-CoV-2 by 92.6% in Cambodian bats

A laboratory in Phnom Penh found a close relative of SARS-CoV-2 in samples stored in freezers for decades.
Two viruses found in specimens taken from horseshoes bats in northeastern Cambodia in 2010, identified in research published Jan. 26, have similarities up to 92.6 percent with SARS-CoV-2. This makes them the closest relatives of the Covid-19 virus outside of China, providing new information for understanding where the pathogen is coming from.

The closest relative of SARS-CoV-2 is the bat virus in Yunnan province in southwestern China with a similarity of 96.2%. The latest finding is the results of analysis by researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh. Currently, experts are still not sure how Covid-19 started, but they suspect the virus may originate from bats before being transmitted directly to humans or through a medium.

The search for the source for SARS-CoV-2 has prompted several laboratories to re-examine the specimen for traces of similar viruses. Although it has not been approved by the panel of experts, the Phnom Penh Pasteur Institute's findings point to Southeast Asia as a very important area to consider in the traceability process of SARS-CoV-2, according to the authors. research, including scientists from the Sorbonne University and the French Pasteur Institute and the University of California, Davis, USA. The study also provides data showing that Southeast Asia and southern China are hotspots for the corona virus family.
The research team sampled the virus with a cotton swab from the Shamel horseshoe bat in a project funded by UNESCO. In this project, experts compared species diversity on the banks of the Mekong River in northern Cambodia. Specimens were transferred to Pasteur Institute and stored at -80 degrees Celsius.
After Covid-19 outbreaks, researchers began to conduct additional tests on stored samples to look for the corona virus involved. Of the 430 samples they reviewed, 16 were positive for corona virus, including 2 almost identical samples. The results of genetic analysis in the new study revealed that the closely related viruses of SARS-CoV-2 had a much broader geographic distribution than previously assumed. The Shamel horseshoe bat that carries the corona virus in Cambodia does not live in China.
An Khang (According to SCMP )