Scientists find new coronaviruses in bats in Laos

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Feb 17, 2022, 11:35 AM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )

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Discovery of new coronaviruses in bats adds weight to the theory of pandemic causing coronavirus having animal origin

Scientists have discovered three new coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 which, as it is being said, could represent a risk for human health. These scientists from National University of Laos and Institut Pasteur du Laos have published their findings in Nature magazine on Wednesday.

As per the paper that is published in Nature, these scientists have found that viruses named BANAL-103, BANAL-236 and BANAL-52 have genomic similarities to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that caused the global pandemic. The new coronaviruses show specific similarities in a “key domain of the spike protein that enables the virus to bind to host cells.”

Observations made by the scientists have led them to note that these three coronavirus are able to enter human cells by making use of the same receptor as SARS-CoV-2.

"The existence of these viruses discovered in the bat animal reservoir backs up the theory that SARS-CoV-2 may originate from bats living in the vast karst highlands in the Indochina peninsula, which stretches across Laos, Vietnam and China,” Head of the Pathogen Discovery laboratory at the Institut Pasteur Marc Eloit said, adding that the result suggested that “other related viruses could represent a risk for human health.” say the scientists in their paper.

Detection of the new coronaviruses in bats lends weight to the theory that the pandemic causing coronavirus had animal origins.

So does this mean that these new coronaviruses are going to spark a fresh pandemic wave across the world? Let's hope not.
 

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