Coronaviruses: Bats have a virus that is similarly harmful to the Coronavirus. China
The COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus is closely linked to the virus known as BtSY2.
It was "one of five viruses of concern," according to scientists, discovered in bats throughout China's Yunnan Province that may be harmful to people or animals.
Researchers from the Yunnan Institute for Endemic Disease Control, the Australian University of Sydney, and the Chinese Sun Yat-Sen University conducted the study.
According to the team's findings in the study, "We identified 5 viral species that are likely to be pathogenic to humans or livestock, including a new SARS-like coronavirus, which is closely related to both SARS-CoV-2 and 50 SARS-CoV."
In six Greek provinces or cities, researchers took samples from 149 bats representing 15 different species. For each bat, RNA (found in living cells) was isolated and sequenced separately.
Scientists have discovered a concerningly high rate of simultaneous spread of several viruses in one bat.
This could lead to "existing viruses exchanging parts of their genetic code—a process known as recombination—to form new pathogens," according to University of Nottingham virologist Jonathan Ball.
The Daily Mail quoted Paul, a non-participant in the study, as saying: "The main message that can be taken (from this study) is that individual bats can harbour a large number of different viruses, and sometimes host them at the same time." British.
Such cross-infection, particularly with related viruses like the Coronavirus, allows the virus to swap key pieces of genetic information, which inevitably results in the emergence of new variants, the author continued.