Relatives of SARS-CoV-2 found in Japan, Cambodia

Listen

The first known relatives to the pandemic virus outside of China have been found in Japan and Cambodia, which could potentially bring researchers a step closer to understanding the pandemic's origin, according to a Nov. 23 Nature report. 

Cambodia virus: The virus was found in two horseshoe bats stored in a laboratory freezer. The virus's genome hasn't been fully sequenced, but if it shares more than 97 percent of its genome with SARS-CoV-2, it could provide critical insight into how the novel coronavirus passed from bats to people, and serve as a stepping stone in the World Health Organization's search for the pandemic's origin. If it's more distantly related, it can help researchers learn more about this virus family's diversity. The full sequencing, which researchers hope to publish in the coming weeks, will also identify whether this virus can infect human cells. 

Japan virus: Rc-o319, a pandemic-related virus, was found in frozen horseshoe bat droppings and shares 81 percent of its genome with the pandemic virus, according to Nature. It's too distantly related to inform the search for the pandemic's origin, but early cell studies suggest the virus could not easily infect people since it can't bind to the receptor SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter human cells. 

More articles on public health:
Sanford Health bars fans from 12-game basketball tournament
Indiana health system gets refrigerated truck to store bodies as COVID-19 deaths rise
New York to reopen emergency hospital; CDC urges contact tracers to change strategy — 5 COVID-19 updates

 

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2021. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.