COVID-19 origins may never be clear, bat scientists say

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All eyes are on scientists exploring the COVID-19 pandemic's origin. But bat virus researchers, who are still looking for answers about the 2003 SARS outbreak, say there may never be an answer, The Wall Street Journal reported July 11. 

The virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome emerged in 2002 and killed nearly 800 people globally. Linfa Wang, PhD, director of emerging infectious diseases at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, was part of a team convened by the World Health Organization to investigate the origin of the virus in 2003.

Dr. Wang, a bat virus expert, has spent more than a decade working with researchers in China looking for evidence that the virus spread from bats to humans.

"There is still no smoking gun," Dr. Wang told the Journal. "We have never found a bat that is the source of SARS that humans have."

Now, Dr. Wang is also helping explore COVID-19's origins. Earlier this year, he helped pen research into horseshoe bats in Thailand, some of which tested positive for coronaviruses similar to SARS-CoV-2. But this is still far from a conclusive finding, the Journal said. 

"We may never know," said Dr. Wang. "We will keep looking."

 

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