Coronaviruses including COVID-19 have been circulating in bats for decades
New Delhi : We all know that coronavirus originated from Wuhan, China and went on to spread all over the world. Only a handful of countries were left unaffected by this deadly and highly contagious virus. Researchers have said that coronavirus originated from a bats lineage and has managed to infected humans.
In a study published in the Nature Microbiology claims that SARS CoV-2 also known as the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 has been circulating in bars for over a decade. They also found that bats may have other viruses which might be able to infect humans and lead to another pandemic in the future. Researcher Maciej Boni from the Penn State University, US says that "Coronaviruses have genetic material that is highly recombinant, meaning different regions of the virus’s genome can be derived from multiple sources. This has made it difficult to reconstruct SARS-CoV-2’s origins. You have to identify all the regions that have been recombining and trace their histories. To do that, we put together a diverse team with expertise in recombination, phylogenetic dating, virus sampling, and molecular and viral evolution."
The researchers have also found that the lineage of viruses to which coronavirus belongs come from other bat viruses nearly 40-70 years ago. The researchers also managed to recreate the relationship between other virus and the COVID-19 as well as its evolution as well as its relationship with other bat and pangolin viruses.
Another researcher Philippe Lemey of this study said, “The ability to estimate divergence times after disentangling recombination histories, which is something we developed in this collaboration, may lead to insights into the origins of many different viral pathogens."
The study concluded that it is important to prevent future pandemics by keeping tabs on these viruses and understanding them in depth. For this, it is essential that we sample withing wild bats. We also need to create human disease surveillance systems and identify the pathogens and find a way to respond at the earliest.